Professional relationships are very important in our day-to-day working life and career development. I do not need to emphasise that we all thrive and grow based on our relationships (network). The quality of our professional relationships determines how far we can go in our career.
Yes, I understand the place of being too good at what you do to a point that you cannot be ignored, but sometimes, one can have excellent skills and still get stuck at one level of his/her profession. Most times, such people lack relational and interpersonal skills.
A clear example is the outcome of the popular interview of the SEAL team by Simon Sinek (watch the video). He showed how performance and trust are valued by the SEAL Team 6. It was very interesting to see that majority of the SEAL team members preferred a trusted colleague than the one with high performance without trust.
Trust is the oil that lubricates your professional relationships, and it’s worth all the investment.
Here are some ways that you can build trust in your professional relationships.
1. Be professional and be good at what you do
One way to build trust professionally is to be effective and efficient at what you do. In the first instance, it is your competence that brought you to that circle. Hence, keep improving yourself and build your capacity in terms of performance. With this, both employers and colleagues will develop a reliance on you and eventually build trust in you.
Being good at what you do brings colleagues to you and gives you more room to prove that you are worth their trust. Once this avenue is created, now, you can work on your character values to consolidate the trust.
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2. Mind your business
Stop poke nosing into matters that do not concern you. Learn to mind your business. This is not a call to be an introvert or withdraw from happenings around you, but it’s a call to be more discerning in what issues you engage in.
Trust will be built when people know that you respect boundaries and know your domain of actions and inactions. Trust requires boundaries – that’s why not everyone can be trusted, and the level of trust differs. Mind your business!
3. Build your character
Trust is more character-related than skill-related. Build your character to stand the test and storms of a workplace. Don’t give in! When your colleagues realise that you have a good character that is not controlled by waves of events in your workplace, then they are likely to trust you.
4. Obey workplace rules – keep the secrecy code!
Any workplace requires some level of confidentiality. It would be best if you aim at keeping to the secret code of your workplace; otherwise, you will be kicked out of major discussions and meetings because they cannot trust you to be in ‘the room’. If you have a bridled tongue and maintain confidentiality, you will be admitted to crucial discussions on a trust basis. Indirectly, you are building trust.
5. Avoid workplace gossip
Unnecessary workplace gossips destroy one's character and trust. The same way you gossip about others, is the same way they will gossip about you. Office gossips can destroy trust, and your colleagues will find it difficult to confide in you.
6. Be a team builder
Trust can be built by being a team builder yourself. Building a team requires defining a common goal for the team. This signifies unity, interest and trust. What good is a team if there is no trust. Hence, by being a team-builder, you automatically build trust professionally.
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7. Acknowledge your colleagues’ efforts
Don’t take your colleagues praises. Acknowledge the efforts of your professional colleague whenever they accomplish or contribute to achieving any task.
Acknowledging your colleagues will have a direct positive impact on their trust for you. In the future, they will be happy to put in their best, knowing that they will be acknowledged. It sounds simple, but you will be surprised how much this can contribute to your building trust in your professional life.
8. Be open – don’t hide information or release information too late
Be open to your colleagues. Don’t keep information away from the beneficiaries, especially when you are in the position to disseminate such information. People need to trust you because you are an open colleague to work with.
"...When you are accountable and responsible to your colleagues, and in any position of responsibility that you are given, you naturally build trust."
9. Be genuinely caring to your colleagues
Show care to your professional colleagues. Good, it’s a professional environment, one is supposed to keep it professional, but I tell you, people care when they know that you genuinely care.
Building trust requires being real and caring, especially nowadays, that selfishness is the order of the day.
10. Trust others
You cannot build trust, whether in personal or professional relationships, without first trusting others. Trust, in a way, is reciprocal. First, be or do what you would like others to be or do to you. See our article on building trust in personal relationships.
11. Be you, and do you!
Be you in your professional environment. Be yourself. Be who you are, and stand for your values and principles. I would rather deal with a real person than someone who changes like a chameleon.
Don’t let others negative character influence your behaviour to the point of disregarding your good values. Be you, and with that, you will build trust.
12. Don’t break the order
Every place has an order – don’t break the order except for a well-defined positive purpose. When you break the order – you will be seen as a betrayer. Respect the boundaries set in your organisation and keep the good values and traditions of such a place. If you do that, you are indirectly maintaining good faith with your colleagues/employers, which will promote trust in your professional relationships.
13. Be accountable
Maintain accountability in your professional relationships. In some scenarios, being accountable is synonymous to being trustworthy. When you are accountable and responsible to your colleagues, and in any position of responsibility that you are given, you naturally build trust. You will be seen as a reliable person.
14. Be honest and keep your integrity intact
Being honest is golden. Strive to be honest to your colleagues and be very clear about your position. Don’t let your colleagues perceive you as a diplomat. They will find it challenging to build trust with you.
Again, do everything that you can to keep your integrity intact.
15. Allow others to grow or advance
You can gain trust from your younger colleagues if you are a superior that gives others a chance to grow and advance their careers. You will be perceived as having their interest at heart; hence, this naturally commands trust. Much later, your professional colleagues can trust you enough to openly talk to you about their career development plans.
I hope these tips will help you in building trust in your professional relationships. The key is in practising these tips and putting them to work. Please read our articles on why you need to build trust in your relationships and tips for building trust in your personal relationships. Let’s dazzle together, even in our professional relationships!