Building Trust in the Workplace

Working with MBA students this is an issue we frequently encounter.  Students want to go in and immediately make a difference.  They want meaningful work, significant high visibility projects and access to senior management from day one.   In most organizations, they have to earn the trust of their managers first.  As trust builds, so do the opportunities available.  There are various ways to build trust in the workplace:

  • Delivering Results – With each assignment, strive to what is asked and more.  Think about how you can add more value.  What are logical next steps, what additional questions does this raise, what other data would be helpful?  Meet or beat deadlines and if there is an issue let someone know in advance not at the last minute.  Managers typically don’t like surprises.  Provide accurate work in a timely manner and more projects will likely flow your way.
  • Interactions with Others – How you treat other people goes a long way in building trust.  Show respect.  Treat everyone well – administrative staff, receptionists, custodians, etc.  Be a good listener.  Empathize.  Do not act entitled, that turns people off.
  • Ask Questions – Ask questions when you don’t know, don’t assume that you know what is needed.  Ask once, take notes and don’t ask the same question again.  Knowing when to ask questions is strength not a weakness.  Demonstrate that you are constantly learning.  Be willing to show others how to do something in Excel that may be new to them or offer a tip on project tracking.  While you are still in learning mode, don’t forget that there are opportunities to share your skills and experience with others for the benefit of the team.
  • Offer Your Services – If there is a major team deadline, ask how you can help.  Sometimes they may not have time to get involved but you may be able to pitch in to make a difference.  It is important to be seen as part of the team.  If you have unique skills, offer to put them to use in the project at hand.  Maybe you can do something unique in Excel or PowerPoint that will make a difference.

Earn bigger projects and more visibility by delivering results and being a team player people want to work with you on their projects.  As you earn their respect the demand for your services will increase.


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