When entering a new workplace or even maintaining your presence at your current one, it’s important to build trust with your coworkers and supervisors. Though this may seem like common sense, it’s something that takes work, focus, and a little bit of sacrifice to pull off successfully. So whatever your situation, how can you ensure that you develop mutual and effective relationships built on trust? There are a number of ways to go about this, and they all fall under the three Cs: Communication, Consistency, and Courtesy.
Be open and honest. As with any relationship, workplace trust is built on honesty and openness to communication. If you make a mistake, own up to it—there are ways to recover from workplace mistakes and none of those involve being dishonest.
Spark conversation with your coworkers. Even asking someone how their weekend went can spark conversation, and there are plenty of other conversation starters to get you talking at work. Showing genuine interest in what your coworkers do and sharing your own work are also great ways to forge relationships for the future.
Don’t gossip. While being communicative with your fellow employees about things outside of the task at hand can have its benefits, there is one toxic workplace topic you should avoid: gossip. If you feel a conversation veering into gossipy territory, try subtly changing the subject, or at least try to avoid giving any input.
Be punctual. Punctuality isn’t only an important indicator of your work performance; it’s a great way to show your coworkers that you’ll always be there to pick up any slack if necessary, too. Being punctual and reliable will present you as a trustworthy associate, and your coworkers will most likely see you as someone they can rely on.
Work hard. Like punctuality, hard work goes a long way in both the eyes of supervisors and peers. Being genuinely interested in what you do and the quality of your work will only help your relationship with those who rely on you and work beside you.
Use good judgment. This is an especially important thing to be consistent with. If you make numerous mistakes or poor decisions, you’ll likely be the last person your coworkers turn to—and, subsequently, one of the last people they trust.
Offer to help. Don’t let yourself get so comfortable in your day-to-day routine that you forget your coworkers! Just as you may need some assistance on occasion, they may need help with their projects. Offering to help them can show that you’re reliable and trustworthy as well as courteous.
Be aware of needs other than your own. Simply restocking the paper towels in the kitchen when the roll is empty or asking if anyone would like a cup of coffee before your Starbucks run can say a lot about you. If you take the extra step with such matters, you may even find that coworkers are willing to reciprocate, thus creating a friendlier environment for everyone to work in.
Be encouraging. Sometimes, others will have a bad day or make mistakes, and it’s hard to step into their shoes. But doing so and being encouraging and understanding will not only strengthen the relationship between you and your coworkers, it could help them improve their performance, as well.