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Keys to building trust

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “trust” as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something.”

When I talk to executives about the issue of trust, I always hear about the strong bond they have with their people. Read Fortune’s “Top Companies to Work For” list, and you will find trust is a critical aspect of their success. Without it, a company is doomed.

Knowing that, why is the employer/employee relationship fraught with so many challenges? The best relationships are based on compromise, consistency and common beliefs — not easy things.

Here’s a checklist for building trust:

  • Set realistic expectations.
  • Live up to your work — not just your written agreements.
  • When you make a mistake, admit it
  • Interview for common beliefs — not just tactical proficiency.
  • Be willing to say you are sorry.
  • Give credit to others when they help you succeed.
  • Don’t talk behind people’s backs.
  • Know when to keep your mouth shut.
  • Have a vision for your work environment.
  • Realize that life is not fair and live accordingly.
  • Make the best of every day and every human encounter.
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