5 Ways to Earn Your Co-workers’ Trust

(And keep it for the long-haul.)

Trust creates an environment of productivity, support and motivation. Whether you’re a manager or an entry-level new hire, you can do your part to make your office a better workplace for the whole team—here are five tips for making it happen. The Skill Set: How to Earn Your Co-Workers’ Trust

The Skill Set: 5 Ways to Earn Your Co-workers’ Trust

1. Trust your team, and they’ll trust you

“The mistake that many people make when building trust is to expect others to trust them without the individual first showing trust,” says Harvey Deutschendorf, an emotional intelligence expert, internationally published author and sought-after speaker. “When we start out with the belief that others are trustworthy until they prove us wrong, we will encourage and motivate others to trust us in return.” If you’re a manager, Harvey advises that the best way to demonstrate trust in your employees is to allow them the opportunity to be creative and try new ideas—and stand behind them even when things don’t work out as planned. 

2. Be transparent

Your team needs to feel like they’re in the loop. “Share everything that's going on with your work, including bad news, in a timely manner,” Harvey advises. Transparency is key to building strong relationships at work. “Keeping our ideas and feelings private when we first form relationships is a good idea, but as the relationship develops, we need to open up,” says Harvey. “Failing to do so creates distrust.” When appropriate, be open—about your opinions, your work and your life outside of the office. 

3. Stay consistent

Convey the same information to your boss, your peers and those working under you. “Be congruent and give the same message consistently regardless of the circumstances or audience,” says Harvey. This is particularly key for managers. “Managers need to elevate themselves above the seductive trap of favoritism,” says Harvey. “In everyday life, we have people we like more than others and we treat them accordingly. When managers do this, they lose their employees’ trust.” 

4. Own your mistakes

Attempting to hide your errors or blame them on others is a quick way to lose your co-workers’ trust. “When you make a mistake, be forthright in admitting what happened and give a sincere apology,” says Harvey. “Receiving a genuine apology has a positive impact on the human psyche—this healthy act of empathy repairs and heals,” he adds. “This in turn, leads to openness, vulnerability and a heightened relationship.” 

5. Foster honest feedback

If you’re a manager—particularly a new manager (we have a guide for you!)—encourage constructive feedback, both positive and negative. “Make an effort to get to know your staff and acknowledge their unique contributions and efforts,” says Harvey, “and avoid blanket statements like ‘You’re all doing great work,’ which can look superficial or lazy.” When it comes to negative feedback, be straightforward and forgiving. “Demonstrate that those working under you can come to you with problems and mistakes that they’ve made and be treated fairly and respectfully,” Harvey suggests.



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