Building Trust is Key to Business Success

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines trust as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”. In the real world, trust means different things to different people but it usually boils down to one thing: trust is critical to your success, both personally and professionally.

Our focus here is trust as a key to business success. It takes many forms during your various interactions with others, but it is always there, just under the surface, influencing and affecting your work and your leadership effectiveness. Building and maintaining trust is crucial because when it is there it helps you, but when it is not, it hurts you.

Trust and your employees
Building trust with your employees means demonstrating every day that they can depend on you. It happens in small ways, like supporting a person’s efforts toward professional development or advocating for your department’s ongoing needs. It also happens in big ways, like maintaining employee confidentiality and communicating honestly about company issues. When there is mutual trust between you and your employees, performance improves.

Trust and your peers
Think about your peers. There are a few that you can always trust, but some that are less reliable. You know who they are; they always have an excuse for missing a deadline, or never quite finish tasks completely or without error. Eventually you learn not to trust what they do or what they say because experience has taught you they are not trustworthy.

Are you one of those people? Be brutally honest with yourself. Chances are you already know if your peers view you as trustworthy or not. If the answer is not, then you must correct that facet of yourself to achieve long-term business success.

Trust and your boss
When your boss has trust in you, chances are your career will flourish as long as your performance remains worthy of that trust. He or she is willing to support you, challenge you, and even mentor you, if you demonstrate trustworthy character and reliability. Building that trust with your boss takes time and consistency. You must fulfill your commitments, perform at high levels, and demonstrate your personal character and integrity.

If your boss does not have trust in you, it will translate into lost career opportunities. Perhaps you’ll be given only a minor role in that great new project, or maybe you will not be selected when someone is needed to fill in temporarily because the boss is out of town. Think about the many ways trust from your boss affects your success and start now to make behavioral changes if necessary.

Trust and your customers
This is extremely important, because trust from your customers translates directly into dollars. How does this happen? Think about your own experiences as a customer when you trust a company to send a crucial part, deliver a package on time, or finish a project on time. If the company fulfills its commitment, you learn to trust them and will go back to them in the future. If the company does not fulfill its commitment, however, your trust in them diminishes and you are less likely to go back to them again.

Think carefully. Do you give your customers reason to trust you?

Trust is an important part of your success. It occurs in many different ways across your professional life, affecting your business relationships and ultimately your business performance. When you pay attention to building trust, as a critical component of your leadership development, through every interaction you become better equipped to achieve whatever goals you set for yourself.