In the workplace or on projects, how do you decide to trust someone? Most people determine their level of trust by watching and judging others’ behavior. It takes a lot more time to build trust than it does for a single behavior to destroy it. Trust also has to be reinforced by consistent behaviors in “4 Trust Factors”, which are often described by phrases we use everyday:

  1. Sincerity – “Actions speak louder than words” or “It ain’t whatcha say, it’s the way howcha say it”
  2. Competence – “Got his/her act together” or “Not the sharpest tool in the shed”
  3. Reliability – “He/she has got my back” or “Too many things slip through the cracks”
  4. Care – “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care”

Here are examples of behaviors that increase trust building with others and reduce chances of eroding that trust:

Trust FactorTrust Building Behavior ExamplesTrust Eroding Behavior Examples
Sincerity- Say what you mean – be authentic
- Admit your mistakes and take responsibility for fixing them
- Say what you think others want to hear
- Cover up your mistakes, blame others
Competence- Bring your best every day to each and every job
- Ask when you need help or find the right person to do it
- Be proactive on resolution of potential issues
- Hide any inadequacies of your work
- Protect or be territorial of your own work and process
- Reactively fix issues rather than preventing them
Reliability- Do what it takes to meet commitments you promised
- If you can’t meet commitments, notify and renegotiate them ahead of time
- Offer excuses for missing deadlines or commitments
- Wait too late to declare issues and hope you can fix them before they are discovered
Care- Be aware and able to tune in to others’ perspectives and needs
- Find ways to satisfy needs underlying others’ demands
- Have a single focus on completing your goals
- Push your perspectives and fail to support others’ needs if they conflict with yours