Deepen Relationships

Building Trust

Trust is a cornerstone of building and maintaining effective and satisfying relationships in your career and your life. You cannot build or sustain relationships without it. Building trust begins with your first interaction and continues with every interaction that follows. Each interaction has the ability to either add to or subtract from the trust that has been established and impact the trust equation you have with that person. 

Take Action:

To learn more about the trust equation, take this brief quiz on your trust building skills. 

After answering a series of questions, you will receive a trust quotient score. In addition, you will see your primary area of strength and your primary area for development, along with some suggestions on how to improve. 

After completing the quiz and reading your results, review the following checklist of ideas on how to improve your ability to consistently build trust with others.

Checklist for Building Trust

  • Be interested:  Take a genuine interest in others. Remember what is going on in their lives and ask questions about aspects of their lives that you have a true interest to hear about. Invite them into the conversation by asking open-ended questions that relate to their interests. Actively listen to what they are saying by keeping your focus on them, not on what you are going to say or ask next.
  • Be truthful:  Even when the truth you have to tell may be difficult, people will respect you for being straightforward. Truth can be told gently, but should be unvarnished. That way, others will know they can turn to you as a trusted resource. Do not lie - even to protect yourself for the moment. It can quickly turn into a web of lies that is difficult to recall. Once you are caught, you should apologize immediately and understand that it will take longer to rebuild trust than it did to establish it in the first place.
  • Be reliable:  Honor your promises. Be aware of the importance of your commitments to the other person and be realistic about your ability to fulfill them. Follow through on commitments consistently. If there is an obstacle to meeting your commitments, communicate openly and renegotiate what you will do along with letting them know how and when you will do it.
  • Demonstrate integrity:  The only way to create a reputation for integrity is through your behavior. People will judge you not by all the fine things you want them to believe about you but also by how what you say is demonstrated through how you act. Be sure that your behavior reflects your moral and ethical codes. Be fair by considering all sides of an issue objectively. Maintain standards that cross all roles in your life.
  • Share about yourself:  Volunteer information about your own life. Sharing your personal information creates an open environment for others to share. Be consistent in the details and stories to tell. Discrepancies, created by embellishment or omission, can cause people to wonder about your truthfulness. Set clear boundaries for yourself about what you will or will not share, and with whom. It is okay to set a boundary around certain private personal information.
  • Be compassionate:  Life has challenges, and few people ever start their day with the goal of committing mistakes or creating misunderstanding. Part of being human is being fallible. Maintain a balance between being overly sympathetic and detached. Others know you have challenges, so trying to hide them or deny them can create a barrier to trust.
  • Honor confidences:  When someone shares private information with you, consider it private. It is yours to protect - not to repeat. If you gossip or share a confidence, you will find that it comes back to you. Not only does it ruin your reputation for confidentiality and trust with the person you betrayed; it damages your trust with everyone else who knows.
  • Have their back:  Supporting others increases the chance that they will support you. Take responsibility and do not place blame. Avoid rumors and gossip because taking part in any of these conversations sends the clear message to others that you may talk behind their back as well. Hold up others in the best possible light while being genuine.