10 Tips to Build Trust

Trust is the foundation of all successful relationships. It is the grease that makes things go faster, work smoother and cost less. Trust may be hard to define, but we do know when it’s lost. In every conversation, you have the opportunity to build trust or undermine it.

Be intentional about using your words and actions to build rather than destroy trust.

In life and business, relationships are important—but they are empty unless they are established and based upon trust. – Horst Schulze, former President and COO, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

Here are 10 tips to build trust:

  1. Keep your word. Close the say-do gap. Do what you say you will do! When actions do not match words and trust is breached, this is also a process that works in the reverse.
  2. Make decisions thoughtfully, explain your thought process and have the courage to say “no.” Tell people what they need to know, not everything you know.
  3. Be honest and kind. Say “please” and “thank you.”
  4. Make time for consistent and frequent communication even if it means saying, “I don’t have the answer yet.” Use judgment to balance between protecting confidential information and sharing needed knowledge. Information that adds to overload or isn’t pertinent diminishes trust.
  5. Recognize and affirm constructive behavior. Observe and correct destructive behavior.
  6. ASK questions that enable others to gain insight rather than TELLing them what you think they need to know.
  7. Consider the long-term impact of your words and actions. Short-term gain can create long-term pain.
  8. Listen and ask clarifying questions for understanding. Be careful of non-verbal reactions that invalidate your listening intent.
  9. Model the behavior that you want to see others exhibit. In other words, BE the change.
  10. Admit mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Would you rather be right or be in relationship?

Relationships are complex. So is the trust-building process. Trust is based on who you are; trust is demonstrated by what you say and how you behave.


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