Building Trust in Your Business Relationships - 10 Steps

There are some simple things you can do with your people to ensure that they start to trust you. As a letter from Mike Emmott of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in the UK says, in April 2005's UK Management Today says:-

"Our surveys show that only one in four employees trust senior management to look after their interests"
Is that not appalling? How on earth can businesses develop, survive and above all hang onto their best people if they are seen to be untrustworthy?

It's horrible.

There is an article below which talks a little about 'Rapport Building', but to supplement that, here are Ten Steps to help you build trust with your people.

  • Keep Your Promises
    If you can't keep a promise, then don't make it in the first place - it is a big negative emotion being let down in this way.

  • Never Tell Lies
    Why would you? And if you have to, it's much, much more about you. Your people will really lose faith in you fast.

  • Keep Confidences
    Sometimes people will tell you things that they don't want broadcast - they need you to hear them sometimes. But keep it to yourself. Do not be the instigator of gossip and rumour.

  • Communicate as Fully as Possible
    Keep as little from your people as you can. Communicate as openly as possible. Sometimes you have to hold some information back - it happens, but think really carefully about it.

  • Have No Favourites
    Treat all of your people equally and show no favourites. I know this is tough - I found it tough, but it needs to be right. Have agreed principles and standards that everyone works to - sorry, but no exceptions.

  • Challenge the Behaviour - Not the Person
    People make mistakes, do things wrong and need to be told. It's the thing they did, not the person they are. "You're useless", is not a good way to build trust, but, "That wasn't what I would expect of you usually, tell me more about what happened", works better.

  • Follow Through
    If you say you are going to do something. Do it! Your people will love that you do what you say (or apologise at least if you find you can't). And it sets a great example.

  • Listen Attentively
    There's a whole piece about this, but safe to say if you don't pay attention to people fully, they will not trust you. It's rude and it diminishes the relationship.

  • Forgive Mistakes
    Be generous. It is a value-creating action. People hate to get things wrong - they expect a 'bollocking' (as they say!). Help them with a learning from the mistake. "What might you do next time?", is far more valuable.

  • Don't Talk Behind Backs
    If you do this with anyone, they will always wonder what you say about them when they aren't there - and what are they saying about you - it's a bad habit.

    Building trust is vital if you, your people and your business are going to excel. Working on it is just a discipline. These points will help you.

    Copyright 2005 Martin Haworth is a Business and Management Coach. He works worldwide, mainly by phone, with small business owners, managers and corporate leaders. He has hundreds of hints, tips and ideas at his website, (Note to editors. Feel free to use this article, wherever you think it might be of value - it would be good if you could include a live link)

    ...helping you, to help your people, to help your business grow...

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