The First Step in Building Trust

A New York Times/CBS News poll from more than decade ago, publicized that 63% of people interviewed believe you “can't be too careful” dealing with most people. According to more recent Maritz Research poll, only 7% of employees trust senior leaders to look out for their best interests and 25% do not trust management to make the right decisions in times of uncertainty.

Trust in business leaders is already low and still falling.


The first job of a leader is to be trusted.

If others lack confidence in you, then you have little influence. How do you help others rely on you?

The same New York Times poll gives us a hint. Another question indicates that people expect 85% of the people they know personally to “try to be fair.” Is building trust really that simple? No. But...

Getting to know someone...

is the first step for building trust, it is the fertile ground that trust can grow in.

How well do people know you? Can they relate to you?

How can we expect people to trust us, to be influenced by us, when we do not let them get to know us? We often prevent others from getting to know us personally, trying to remain aloof and business-like. We spend too much time talking to a person's brain, but never engaging their heart. For many, our feelings, not our thoughts, determine whether we trust someone.

Here are five specific things you can do to help people know you better:

  1. Share personal stories that captures who you are and what makes you tick.
  2. Communicate the beliefs and principles that guide your decision-making.
  3. Open yourself up to questions.
  4. Show an interest in other people lives.
  5. Demonstrate your trust in them.

Question: How well does your team know you? And how well do you know them? What is your next step to enhancing your foundation of trust?