14 Ways To Build Trust in the Workplace

By Indeed Editorial Team

March 24, 2021

A cohesive and enjoyable workspace all starts with team members who get along and trust each other. The teamwork that results can make a big impact on the business's success. When your coworkers trust you, you'll work together better, develop friendships and feel supported in the workplace. In this article, we discuss what building trust means, why it's important and share ways you can build trust in the office.

What does building trust mean?

Building trust means that through your actions, you make someone else feel comfortable relying on you, feel confident in your abilities and your intentions and feel motivated by working with you. Trust is something you build with your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers to have a well-rounded and mutually beneficial relationship.

Why is building trust important?

Building trust is important because it builds commitment, a valuable attribute in any workplace. When coworkers trust each other, they are more likely to work together on projects for the greater good of the office and enjoy doing so. A trustful workplace typically has a culture that is developed through values, hard work and strong teamwork. Teamwork increases productivity too, so having trust in the workplace can also help make a company successful.

How to build trust

If you want to be a part of a team where your coworkers appreciate your work, feel comfortable coming to you for help and where productivity is high because everyone works together well, it's important to build trust first. Here are 14 ways to build trust with your managers and coworkers.

1. Follow through on promises

An easy way to build trust is by following through on doing what you say you will. If someone is relying on you to perform a task or finish a project, you could break their trust by not completing what you should. If you know you can't do something because you either lack the know-how or don't have time, be honest about this with your teammate so you don't end up over-promising and under-delivering.

2. Communicate with coworkers

Another way to build trust is by communicating effectively with your coworkers via email and face-to-face. Practice standard email etiquette to make sure your email is professional yet easy to understand and friendly. Be mindful of the tone you use so you don't send the wrong message to your recipient.

When engaging in face-to-face conversations, pay special attention to your body language and tone of voice as both can influence how your coworkers interpret your words and react to what you're saying. Actively listen so they know that you value their words.

Read more: How To Communicate Better With Coworkers

3. Become a mentor

Provided you have something to offer to your coworkers in a mentorship capacity, speak with your manager about the opportunity to take on the role. You can mentor newcomers to the company or even current coworkers who would benefit from training on a tool or office process. If you're mentoring a new hire, you have the opportunity to establish trust by showing them around the office and introducing them to how your workplace functions. They'll come to rely on you to help them navigate their new role.

Another benefit is when your coworkers see your mentorship abilities, you'll build trust with them too. Through viewing how you work with others, they may then feel more confident in your working relationship.

Read more: How to Be a Good Mentor

4. Be honest

With your managers and coworkers, it's important to be honest. Honesty builds trust and contributes to a culture of open communication, value among coworkers and transparency. When you're honest, you are letting your office mates know that they are important to you.

5. Get to know your team

Getting to know your teammates can build trust because you're showing genuine interest in their personal lives. When you get to know your coworkers you may find that you work better together, get along well and understand each other more, which helps when working on partner projects. Get to know your team by asking them about their weekend plans, going out to lunch and not talking about work and performing an icebreaker for new hires so they can get to know the group and vice versa. You can also celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries and other milestones in the workplace.

6. Admit to your mistakes

It's likely that at some point in your career, you'll make a mistake at work. So will your managers and coworkers. Not only is it important to admit to your mistakes. and accept how your mistake impacted the office and workplace operations, but also take the steps to rectify any wrongs. Admitting that you're at fault for something and want to work through it to get to a better solution shows integrity. Integrity leads to trust.

7. See the value in each team member

All of your managers and coworkers were hired for a reason, whether that's their experience, knowledge or how willing they are to learn and grow within a role, so celebrate what uniqueness they bring to the organization. When you can acknowledge the value of each person, you're letting them know that you see their hard work and place great emphasis on what they contribute to the group.

To show them you see their value, consider approaching them for expert guidance on a task you're working on that you need some help with. Thank them for taking the time to explain something to you and offer to help them whenever they need it.

8. Participate in the office

You can choose to mostly keep to yourself, or you can be a more active part of the group. While the first shouldn't disqualify you from building trust, the second will help make trust build faster and more natural.

To participate in the office, explore ways to interact with coworkers during meetings and beyond. Listen actively when someone is talking, offer suggestions if asked, accept feedback graciously and brainstorm together when needed. A part of participating also means being willing to show the trust you have in your team rather than only trying to gain trust for yourself.

9. Help your team

Another way to build trust is by helping your teammates. If a coworker has taken on a lot of projects and you noticed they are stressed or having a hard time keeping up, offer to help. Ask if there is anything you can do for them that will make things a little easier. Helping also spans into courtesy, so hold doors open for your coworkers, offer to carry file boxes or help them navigate a new computer program that they find confusing. When you're kind, you're letting your coworkers know that they can trust you.

10. Operate with values

As long as you continue to operate with workplace values, you should be able to build trust easily. Your coworkers will see the integrity, honesty and hard work you bring to the team and they'll trust that it's real.

Read more: 6 Steps to Discover Your Core Values

11. Build trust gradually

Trust doesn't happen overnight. It's important to realize that trust builds gradually, so don't be too pushy or do anything that's too out of the ordinary for your personality for the sake of building trust immediately. These actions could have the opposite reaction and cause distrust. Instead, be genuine so they know that what you say and do is not an act and that you deserve trust.

12. Admit to lack of knowledge and experience

It's normal to not know everything at work. Your coworkers are so valuable because they each bring something unique to the office to help it run well. If a manager or coworker asks about your experience in something or knowledge of a subject, be honest because it's for the greater good of the office and will let your coworkers know that they can trust you.

When you let a teammate know that you don't know how to do something, that doesn't mean you're admitting your faults; rather, it's putting everyone into a position to start the project right with people who have the experience that's needed for it to succeed. If there is something you don't know but is obviously an important part of your office operations, you can always ask your manager if you can go through training to expand your knowledge base.

13. Take your responsibilities seriously

If you're responsible for something, make sure you take it seriously. This means that if your job involves sorting customer comments in a filing system, then make sure that gets done. This goes for any task in any role. Otherwise, your managers and coworkers may need to pick up your slack by completing the task or project for you, which can keep them from trusting you as a valuable member of the team.

If you don't take your responsibilities seriously, you risk giving people the impression that you are not committed to the team or your role. However, if you prove that responsibility means something to you, it shows that they can trust you to do your part and contribute to the office functioning as it should.

14. Be inclusive

To build trust, try to include your coworkers in office events whenever you're able. While it may be appropriate to have a favorite work buddy, try not to alienate other members of the team. Include your coworkers in group brainstorming sessions, ask everyone if they want to go on a group lunch and take the same amount of time with everyone to engage in personal conversation.

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