in Communication, Leadership, Leading People, Leading Projects

5 Ways To Build Trust (Lessons from a Conversation)

One of my friends recently joined a new organization at a senior position. When we met over a cup of coffee a few days before his joining, he mentioned to me that his primary challenge would be to build trust. As professionals, we interact with a wide variety of people including our customers, suppliers, new team members, cross departmental folks and people at the customer’s end. Success of these interactions largely depends on trust we are able to build.

Our conversation took an exploratory turn and we started thinking about ways to build trust in a new assignment. The following prominent lessons emerged out:

  • Deliver Results: This comes first on the list because in a business setting, trust is difficult to build without first building a track record. When you are new, let your work make a profound statement. Focus on early-wins. We instantly agreed on this one.
  • Keep Commitments: Consistently meeting your commitments is a great way to build trust. Clients love it when you ship on time. People love it when you keep your promises. Use productivity tools, reminder systems, whatever. But keep your commitments.
  • Give Respect: Trust and respect go hand in hand. If you want to be trusted, you first need to be respected. Giving respect to others is the starting point of building meaningful connections with others. Respect people, respect their views, listen to them and respect their time. Ditto with trust – extend trust and you get it back in equal measures. Lao Tzu said this, "He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted."
  • Clarify Expectations: When you are new to an organization, it is very important that you manage expectations well. Let people know what they can expect from you. What you expect from them. Clarifying expectations helps you gain a focus on results.
  • Be Integral: Simply put, integrity is congruence between your thoughts, words and deeds. Practice what you preach and preach what you practice. When new in an organization, people carefully observe you to gauge the integrity. Transparency is important too.

As a leader, when you are engaged to build a team and make a difference, you need to carefully examine your own behavior. Thinking a step ahead, we realized that the above findings are equally relevant to the organizations too, when they deal with their customers and build trust. Most companies loose clients/people either because they are not trustworthy or their people aren’t.

Walk the talk and talk the walk – that’s the simplest formula for building trust as a leader, professional or an organization.

On that note, have a wonderful Wednesday!

P.S. BIG Thanks to Wally Bock for selecting my post 5 Ideas To Ensure That Lessons are ‘Really’ Learned in Management Improvement Carnival #104.


  1. Building Trust is critical and essential at a new workplace and maintaining it is equally important.
    Delivering good results early (early-wins) is very important as it’s a kick-off for trust and faith building process.
    And once good results are delivered early on first time, it’s important to keep into consideration that one factor that plays crucial role in maintenance of trust and faith is “Consistency is Delivery”. It’s important to deliver best first time and every time consistently.
    Secondly, for leaders joining new organization, it’s important to build trust with team members as well, because ultimately it would be team with whom a leader has to work and get the work done. So it’s very important for a leader to build and maintain a bridge between his team and management.
    Great aspect to bring on focus, Tanmay! Thanks for this post. 🙂

    Jay Chhaya

    • @Jay – Thanks for adding that valuable point that consistency is important. Most people I have seen build trust once, and then get complacent. The thing with trust is – it is difficult to build it, but very easy to loose it. So yes, consistency is very important to remain trustworthy on a long run.


  2. Thanks for Fabulous Five ways to build trust..

    Trust is the key component between any relation. Relationships cannot grow or have a chance of becoming happy if there is no trust.
    The quote – “Clients love it when you ship on time. People love it when you keep your promises” is awesome. Commitment and building confidence is a major factor of Trust.

    • @Anil – Thanks for the comment Anil. Yes, building trust is the starting point of relationship and happiness. For a leader, it is very important to extend trust to the new team members, so as to really connect with them. ‘Being trusted’ is one of the basic human need, and leaders who fulfill this need early build great relationships with their people.


  3. Again a awesome post ! These 5 points are really important in any IT professionals’ corporate life.
    Building trust is the main thing when you are new to any organization. sometimes happens that people get different impression than that you originally are. i like “Deliver Results” and “Give Respect” most. All the 5 points are connected with each other very well.
    Thanks Tanmay for really great Post Again!
    I think i cant miss any of your post.:)

    • @Megha – Thanks for encouraging Megha. The simplest way to project yourself the way you are is to open up and remain integral. Doing what you say, consistently, establishes an identity. The earlier that happens, the better it is to build trust.

      I am so glad that you find value in the posts! Keep reading/commenting!


  4. I really loved, how you wrote.. “Clients love it when you ship on time. People love it when you keep your promises.” and then “Practice what you preach and preach what you practice”..
    Great post..

    • @Ajay – Thanks Ajay, glad you liked the ideas presented in the post. Keep reading/commenting!


  5. Great post Tanmay. You hit directly on the philosophy I’ve been writing about at Being humble enough to start with yourself is huge and then building trust creates respect. Trust and respect have everything to do with employee engagement, retention, attracting top talent, employer brand, and ultimately, production. Learning to instill trust has a huge impact on the bottom line. Thanks for the advice on how to get it!

    • @Jen – Thanks for the comment and I am so glad you liked the post! You bring out a real correlation between building trust and engagement/retention/branding and production. The post was written with a perspective of how new joinees can build trust – but this other angle is worth exploring! Trust rules!


  6. I agree it’s extremely important to build trust with customers and colleagues. But with colleagues in particular, you also have to show how you can help them. Otherwise they may trust you just fine but not feel they need to work with you.
    .-= working girl´s last blog ..August Leadership Carnival =-.

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