5 Ways to Earn More Trust

Trust is one of the most critical assets we have – in our lives and in our careers. When others trust in us, we get more done and get it done more effectively and efficiently. When we trust ourselves, we are more confident every step of the way.

But trust doesn’t just happen magically. And in a new professional role, it can actually be quite easy to undermine others’ trust in us, even when we doing with our best and acting with integrity.

Here’s why. Trust is all about vulnerability.  It’s about being open about who you are and why you are. It’s about avoiding that all-too-human tendency to side-step around our failures and hide our weaknesses.

And when we are in a new role, ideas like “being vulnerable” and “being who you are” sound scary because inside we don’t trust ourselves to be good enough.


Say you are starting a new job.  A little bit of fear is natural.  Even if you are confident in your ability to do the job, the culture of the new workplace is an unknown, the people are unknowns, the expectations are unknowns.  And those unknowns can create self-doubt which leads to fear.

Today, I’d like to offer up 5 relatively simple things you can do to day-to-day to earn more trust.

  1. Ask someone for their point of view. And then listen carefully. You don’t have to accept their answer or convert to their position. You just have to listen and understand.
  2. Assume you are not the smartest person in the room. Too many people assume they know best and that they have the best solution to any problem. Separate yourself from these people with a mindset of “I don’t know everything” in fact “maybe I am the dumbest person in here.” This mindset leads to discovery. It leads to asking the right questions. It leads to listening. And all of these lead to trust.
  3. Ask for help. If you are unsure about how to approach a situation, ask your colleague or your manager for help or advice. If your work situation prevents you from doing this, get an outside perspective. Doing so will build their trust in you because they know you are open about your uncertainties and will ask for help when you need it.
  4. Ask for feedback. After a meeting, ask the attendees for input on how it went and what could be done better. This shows you value their opinion and are willing to change your practices for the betterment of the team.
  5. Admit a mistake. This is tough. Start small. Point out a typo or a missed requirement. Own up to an oversight and make the effort to correct it in the best possible way. Whatever you do, don’t sweep the mistake under the rug and hope no one notices. They will and if they sense you tried to hide it, trust will quickly degrade.

Of course, the real challenges come not in our day-to-day work when we can take small steps, but when we make big mistakes and need to own up to them. These are the moments that trust is broken or built in large sweeps. But I think by incorporating some of these smaller steps into your day-to-day activities, you’ll be better prepared to handle the big challenges.

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  1. I have found that building trust is usually a product of time, rather than desire. As you continue to put others first and demonstrate your commitment to their success, trust will follow. You know, we’ve forged the tightest client relationships through really tough times when we demonstrated our commitment to making our clients successful, no matter how temporarily inconvenient it might be for us at the time.

  2. A great post. Trust is the solid foundation on which all relationships are built. Insightful to see how it works from a BA perspective! Makes a lot of sense!

  3. Thanks, Doug.

    I think trust is core to almost anything we try to achieve in life or in business. In this particular post, yes, I was definitely thinking about the trust we build with our stakeholders and implementation teams.

    I do agree in our “middle” role we are, as you describe, “positioned to protect the interests of both the development and business communities concurrently”. And because of this, members from both sides must trust us if we are going to be effective.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts this morning Doug!

  4. Wise words Laura. This is one of my key areas that I focus on when building and maintaining relationships with my stakeholders….and really anyone else.

    I feel my stakeholders are critically dependent on having a person that will protect their interests. As the analyst role is in the middle, we are positioned to protect interests of both the development and business communities concurrently. Each has to know that we understand the need at hand, that we take visible steps to guard the integrity of that need, and that despite mistakes on occasion; our intent has succeeded.

    I noticed your topic was trust, but your text was peppered with key interactions with stakeholders and techniques to enhance those interactions. This tells me that very possibly trust may be the most important aspect of “bridging the gap”.

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