Building Trust in Work Relationships

To manage employees and grow your business, you have to learn to trust others.

Trust can be fragile. It takes a long time to earn and sometimes only a split second to destroy. Self-control is paramount to maintaining trust in the workplace. Losing your patience—or worse, getting angry—can cost you years of trust in a work relationship. Unfortunately, it is often human nature to judge people by their worst moment, so when you feel your anger rising, step away and gather yourself.

Why do we get angry?

We usually get angry because we feel a situation is unfair to us, we feel employees don’t appreciate what we are doing for them, or we feel we are not being listened to. Try to recognize when you are in one of these situations, and step away from it. You can address your feelings in a one-on-one with your employee, but never do it in front of others. Start by saying something like, “I really like working with you. I think we both want to do a good job here; however, I sometimes feel that you’re not giving me your best effort. Is there something I have done?” Be honest and willing to acknowledge any mistakes you could be making. Remember: the relationship is most important in this situation.

Next, here are some things you can do to be a better boss and help build others’ trust in you:

All of these behaviors take time to become habits. Some will come naturally; some will not. And sometimes we need a slight personality adjustment—not a dramatic adjustment (for example, trying to switch from being an introvert to an extrovert)—but everybody can develop better interpersonal skills, better communication skills, and a little more patience.

Perhaps most important is keeping an eternal perspective on our lives and putting our trust in God. We can view every day as an opportunity to grow and improve. We can pray to know where we should improve and who we can spend more time mentoring, then spend a few extra minutes listening for God’s answer. It wasn’t easy for Lehi to take his family into the wilderness or for Nephi to build a boat. But they both knew what they had to do, and they put their trust and faith in God and their whole might and soul into their tasks. Your tasks may not be as dramatic as Lehi’s and Nephi’s, but you can strive to apply the same trust and determination at work, at home, and in your Church callings. As you trust God and endeavor to develop these productive habits, He will help you, and your supervisors and those around you will trust you more and more. And your work—and your life—will improve.