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Six tips to build trusting relationships in the workplace

By Greg Price

What is that ‘oh so good feeling’ you have at work?  Where you go the extra mile, you’re a high performer, happy where you work, confident in what you are doing, and you go above and beyond your role expectations?

What is that feeling?  It is trust. How many times in your professional working life have you experienced this ‘presence’, or feeling?

It is not as difficult as it may seem. The cornerstone to building high-performing teams is to engage in specific, tangible approaches; some tips are outlined below.  Incorporate them into your day – better days are ahead.

#1. Communication – Think about your communication patterns at work. Do you send emails, jump on the phone, or make an in-person visit? Consider what gets the best results and what works best for you to get those results. Building bridges between people to help them solve their problems creates an environment of trust.

#2. Empathy – People can get frustrated at work. Listen to their concerns and read between the lines. There will be times when an individual’s workload will become too much for them to handle. Listen to what they are saying.  Does their frustration come across as a complaint or do you hear it as a connection to help build the bridge to trust?

#3. Create Lasting Memories – Do something fun at work. When there is a slowdown in the action, get the gang together to enjoy some team building. This approach re-aligns stagnant behavior, new thinking approaches and allows others to connect in new emotional ways that they otherwise may not see in you. This bridge builds trust in fun and interactive ways.

#4. Defuse Stressful Moments – Work has its moments and smooth sailing will not always be with us. These whitecaps on the water can rock the boat, but learning to self-manage and control one’s emotions can build powerful bridges that define a trusting relationship in challenging times. Understand the power your shadow has on others; walk with the sun shining brightly, not with an emotional umbrella shadow.

#5. Secrets – There is no place in relationship building to keep secrets, they erode confidence and break the bonds of trust. Open communication is necessary. Be honest and upfront about objectives, approaches to achieve them, and work to solve challenges. Keeping secrets becomes apparent in communication; it wears you down, and takes energy to maintain them.

#6. Learn to Say No – This can be difficult. Saying yes can seem like the right thing to do, but it is not always the best thing.  Know your limits, understand your current workload, and discuss openly about how to fit in new projects or be open to the discussion about what to prioritize. Having this open conversation can support a trusting and open environment.

Building trust in the workplace is no secret. Peer to peer relationships are built on trust.  Manager to employee relationship can built in the same manner though there is a specific challenge that both managers and employees must learn to establish prior to reaching this level.

Work on it.  You will be happier for it.

Greg Price, Associate Dean, School of Applied Leadership. Take your next steps as a leader – CityU offers a Doctor of Education in Leadership, Master of Arts in Leadership, or a Master of Arts in Adult Education. All of our classes are online and designed for the working professional. You can also request more information about any of our programs. We’d love to talk with you!