How To Build Trust: 5 Proven Methods

Rocks stacked on top of one another on a beach

Any productive and meaningful relationship should have a solid foundation on trust. Without trust, a relationship cannot stand the test of time, whether it be professional or personal. 

On the flip side, it takes time to build trust, and how long it takes depends on each individual person and situation. Some people may “click” and find that their communication styles are complementary enough to create trust in a relatively short period of time. Others, however, may have walls in place that make building trust more of a process.

Whatever your style may be, there are tried and true ways that you can build trust in your professional relationships. This is what I’ll be discussing in today’s article.

What is Trust?

For something so absolutely essential to the integrity of our relationships, trust can be something that’s difficult to pin down in a definition. Still, when I talk about building trust within a professional setting, what I mean is that both parties feel they are treated with respect, can share personal or sensitive information with the other person, and are able to be their truest selves around them.

Trust means feeling secure within a relationship, but also accountable to the other person. This is where honesty comes into play. Both parties have to have an understanding when it comes to being honest with one another while balancing this with the degree to which they should consider each others’ feelings.

Keep in mind that trust may look different in multiple relationships. The type of trust that works for some people may not be suitable for others.

1. Tell the Truth

One of the quickest ways to build trust with another person is to always be honest and straightforward. Getting caught in a lie is one of the quickest ways to diminish trust, while also losing the integrity of a relationship.

Despite this, a study by SimplyHired has shown that lying in the workplace is common, even expected. Around 37% of supervisors admit to lying at least once each week. For entry-level employees, this figure jumps to 41% saying they lie around once every few months or less.

No matter your position or status, set an example for your co-workers by being truthful and considerate. Others will come to respect you for your straightforward approach.

2. Communicate

When you have an idea or people are having a hard time following your thought process, take the extra time to communicate with them clearly and simply. 

Not only does this show that you think the other person is worth the effort it takes to fully explain something (think: respect), it also demonstrates transparency. In this way, you can fully explain your ideas instead of simply hoping others will pick up on your nuances.

3. Practice Thoughtfulness

As much as possible, try to authentically help other people in your workplace. This help should come from a place of genuinely wanting to make a positive difference in someone’s day and your work environment. If you have a hidden agenda or are simply pretending to help someone for your own self gain, this will come through loud and clear, hindering trust in the long run.

Being helpful and mindful of others’ needs, though, is a great way to build rapport with another person. People will feel like they can turn to you for advice or if they need help again, which will continuously build the relationship in the long run.

A commitment to respectful kindness and open-mindedness will show others that you’re open to their thoughts, ideas, and situations. If you can show this to them, you will gain their trust and build trust up even further over time.

4. Admit When You’re Wrong

As much as we may love to believe we’re perfect, none of us are right all of the time. Not only is this perfectly okay as part of the human experience, it’s also completely expected. A problem arises, though, when you make a mistake and don’t own up to it. Or worse, you deny it or blame someone else.

By accepting your faults, you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable with someone. You’re openly admitting your faults. If you try to cover them up, you may be unconsciously telling someone that you think you’re better than them. This can do some serious damage to a relationship. 

5. Learn to Trust Others

Just as you want to receive trust from someone else, you have to be willing to give it to others. Sometimes, it takes you making the first move to trust someone (for example, sharing a vulnerability) before they will trust you in return.

While there’s nothing wrong with being prudent and sometimes sparing in the trust you give (we all have to in some ways), try opening yourself up to others instead of waiting for them to make the first move every now and then. Most people want to be accepted and validated for being exactly who they are. If you can do that for them, they will more than likely do the same for you.

In Summary

Trust is not something that is necessarily created overnight, but you can start laying the groundwork for more trusting relationships today. Always be yourself and treat others with empathy. By being open and thoughtful, you can create an environment to give and receive trust.

Do you trust your coworkers, managers, and subordinates? Do you feel like you present yourself as being a trustworthy employee? Could your workplace benefit from a more elevated way of communicating? Guiding others on how to have productive conversations in order to build trust is one of my specialties. Schedule a meeting to learn more.