How to Demonstrate Trustworthiness at Work

Feel like people don’t trust you? Follow these tips to prove them wrong.

Reviewed by Hayley Ramsey

How to show you're trustworthy at work

Trustworthiness is among the most highly regarded qualities a person can have, both in their personal and professional relationships. Being able to trust someone means feeling safe around them and having faith they’ll keep your best interest at heart.

As opposed to liking or disliking someone, which can sometimes happen instantly, establishing trust takes time. It requires effort and consistency, regardless of the circumstances that have brought the people involved together.

If you’re interested in enriching your relationships at work, read our 10 tips for earning your colleagues’ trust below:

1. Show up on time

Turning up on time in the morning is a great way to show your higher-ups and teammates that you take your job seriously. It also demonstrates punctuality, which means you can be relied on.

In addition, showing up on time allows you to start your day calmly. The more you minimize stress this way, the more approachable and level-headed you’ll appear in your colleagues’ eyes. Nobody will be inspired to open up to you or ask for an opinion if you’re consistently giving off an aura of tension and nerves because you’re always running late.

2. Speak honestly

Sharing your honest opinions about work-related matters is a great way to encourage the type of trust you’re looking for. We say “work-related” because it’s generally best to avoid delving into some topics at work, like religion and politics. Keeping more of your thoughts to yourself in that context is perfectly fine.

Though speaking honestly can, in theory, cause some tension in the office, it all boils down to how you go about it. If you can be tactful, avoiding things like non-constructive criticism and pointing fingers, then you should always strive for honesty.

3. Follow through on your commitments

Meeting your deadlines and delivering consistently good quality work is an excellent way of showcasing trustworthiness. Though productivity ebbs and flows for everyone, working on your time management and organizational skills can help you achieve a more level output.

This is particularly important when you offer to take on tasks additional to your workload, to help out a colleague or the team. When someone counts on you, showing them that you’re capable of keeping your word is essential in earning their trust.

4. Hold yourself accountable

A person who owns their mistakes is someone who’s a delight to be around. Downplaying errors or, worse, blaming someone else for them, won’t get any of your colleagues to trust you. If anything, it’ll get them to instantly distrust you.

Having said that, we understand how hard it can be to admit when you’re wrong, especially when the stakes are high. That’s why it’s important to remember that, in any scenario, mistakes are bound to happen.

Much like honesty, accountability can earn you trust by showing your teammates your strong moral code.

5. Give credit to those who deserve it

We all had a childhood friend who would repeat our quiet jokes louder and win everyone’s attention. In the workplace, embarrassingly, it’s not uncommon to watch fully grown adults act in similar ways.

Lack of self-esteem and an unhealthy need for recognition can fuel a behavior like this. However, there are better ways to build your confidence than taking credit for somebody else’s work.

If you’re in a leadership position especially, recognizing people’s efforts and giving praise where it’s due is vital in establishing trust.

6. Avoid engaging in gossip

Have you ever shared something with a colleague only to have the news spread across the office like a bushfire? Whether you’re getting engaged, buying a new car, or breaking up, you could tell one person and watch it become everyone’s business.

Though this happens in most workplaces at varying degrees, it’s good not to play a part in it. This is particularly important in the case of malicious gossip circulating behind people’s backs. It doesn’t matter how “juicy” the deets are — if you want your teammates to trust you, you can find a source of entertainment elsewhere.

7. Treat others with respect

Building trust requires you to have a certain level of emotional intelligence. When you treat your colleagues fairly and with empathy, you show them that they can confide in you. It goes without saying, then, that being condescending to your peers will only achieve the opposite.

A worker who treats his colleagues kindly, regardless of their background, is one who can make friends more easily. Besides earning you brownie points, positive relationships at work can actually boost your engagement and productivity, as well as your teamwork skills.

8. Be consistent

People trust more easily when they know what to expect. If you’re the type of person who is prone to acting impulsively, try to stay in control of your emotions in the workplace. The more consistent your behavior towards your colleagues, the more trust you’ll earn in the long term.

When it comes to gaining trust from your supervisors, consistent performance is also important. Though your productivity will naturally vary a bit, if you’re putting in the same effort overall, your manager will notice and appreciate it.

9. Avoid procrastination

Consider this scenario: an urgent request comes in and your manager asks you to collaborate with a colleague who’s generally distracted. On a typical day, you keep catching them gazing out the window, scrolling on their phone, or chatting to their desk neighbor. Is this someone you can trust half of the project with? Probably not.

For people to trust you in the workplace, you have to be on top of your game. Handling your work methodically will translate into your coworkers trusting you with responsibilities.

10. Trust others

To earn trust, you must also show it to those around you. This is particularly true for managers and other professionals in leadership positions; the more you micromanage your workers, the more you contribute to their lack of trust. This can quickly create a negative work environment for everyone.

To improve employee engagement, you must start by making your team members feel safe. Giving them a chance to talk and encouraging them to take initiative will do wonders in establishing high levels of trust in the workplace.

Key takeaways

At one point or other, we all come across colleagues we don’t trust. Typically, these are individuals who lie, put down others, suck up to management, or can’t stay in control of their emotions ­— all of which tend to be signs of emotional immaturity.

That’s why it’s becoming more and more important for employers to invest in emotional intelligence development strategies. Without it, poor behaviors can transform a once-healthy environment into a breeding ground for conflict.

In closing, here’s what you need to remember about cultivating trust and improving your professional relations:

  • Personal qualities and values, such as honesty, fairness, and empathy, go a long way in gaining people’s confidence
  • Trust begets trust. The more open you are to relying on others, the more comfortable they’ll feel to depend on you
  • Bosses who don’t take the necessary steps to building trust risk creating an environment that’s harmful to overall employee experience

How do you show people that you’re trustworthy? Let us know in the comments below!