11Aug
We often talk about how vital trust is but are we really trustworthy? Of course, we would all like to think of ourselves as moral, but it’s possible our actions don’t express that. It doesn’t mean we’re not good people; it just means that perhaps we must look closely at how we appear to others by rethinking some of our actions.
Credibility in the workplace is one of the most critical attributes. When you are considered trustworthy, it plays a role in how people treat you.
  • Your boss will be more open to listening to thoughts when they know your intentions are for the company's betterment. And this may give you more flexibility in how you desire to work with much less micromanagement.
  • Your colleagues will feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and working more closely as a team toward a common goal.
How Do I Demonstrate Trustworthiness?
First, let’s look at the definition of trust, as outlined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

 

One in which confidence is placed

While keeping the definition in mind, let’s review some ways you can take an active approach to improve how others perceive us.

Be Honest

We’ve all spoken those little white lies, and it’s usually to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. But what happens when lying becomes part of our nature to make ourselves look better or avoid conflict? As we continue down that path, it will become apparent to others that you aren’t telling the truth, and they will find it difficult to separate fact from fiction. If you are in the practice of telling mistruths, it’s not too late to change opinions, but you need to do it now, no matter how uncomfortable.

To follow is an example where an employee was trying to shift the blame when he forgot to perform a task.

“Don’t blame me. I wasn’t aware that I was responsible for sending the agenda to the board meeting.”

The employee should have said something like, “I apologize, it completely slipped my mind, and I will do my best to ensure it does not happen again.” There may be some consequences to him forgetting (i.e., being reprimanded by his boss), but there will automatically be a higher level of trust because of his honesty.

If You Say You'll Do It, Do It

We make promises and commit to things all the time, whether at work, at home, or among friends. In certain situations, it’s easy to say yes to end a conversation or make yourself look like the “star.” However, don’t accept the responsibility if you have any clue that you cannot fulfill that commitment. Others rely on you, and when you make a promise you cannot keep, others may begin to exclude you from activities where it’s crucial to have reliable people. And when this happens at work, it may mean fewer growth opportunities.

Don't Make Excuses

One of the most attractive traits in a person is when they’re able to admit that they’re wrong. It happens, whether intentional or not. If you discover you made a mistake about something you said, “fess up” and say you’re mistaken. Many take the easy route and try to justify why they’re wrong, but that takes more effort than admitting you make a mistake. It demonstrates integrity, and you’ll get more respect. 

Be Clear in Your Expectations

Miscommunication is often the most problematic in the workplace. It’s either because the person relaying the information is an inadequate communicator or the person on the other end is a poor listener. 

 

If you’re the communicator, make sure what you’re dispatching is clear. And don’t make the mistake of dispatching only part of the information while the rest remains in your head. 

 

If you’re on the receiving end, take the time, listen, and allow the other person to talk. And, it’s your responsibility to answer questions if you’re unclear. If you truly listen, the communicator will answer many of your questions in the initial instructions. 

It's In the Small Actions

When you go the additional mile with absolutely no hidden agenda, you will begin to build trust both personally and professionally. And people will gravitate toward you if they feel you are genuinely interested in them. When individuals perceive that you’re helpful and honestly care, you form bonds and develop trust. Some examples of efforts that lead to more trust:

You’ve finished your immediate work and have some time on your hands. It’s easy to jump on social media or just wait for the work day to end. Instead, ask your boss, or co-worker, if you can assist with something else. And, IMPORTANT, if you help a co-worker, don’t run to your boss or others to tell them. The behind-the-scenes help goes much further as you’ll be known for being supportive without asking for anything in return.

Demonstrate interest in their lives. If they tell stories about their children or experiences outside the office, lean in and show that you are listening. When you remember names and check in regularly to see how everyone is doing, it will show you’ve heard what they’ve said and care about what’s important to them.
When you consider some of the above by honoring your commitments, taking the blame when appropriate, and demonstrating kindness, you’ll begin to build a natural trust that will reflect positively in all that you want to do.