4 Concrete Steps Every Employee Can Take to Build Genuine, Lasting Trust

Send trust, no excuses, accountability, get personal

When managers, employees or coworkers no longer trust you, they don’t tell you.

Why would they? They don’t trust how you might react to what they say.

Distrust grows like mold

Others’ distrust descends below the surface, though it shows up in them keeping their distance from you. Distrustful peers, employees or coworkers protect their backsides. They withhold information.  

What created this distrust? Some describe it as collateral damage resulting from how employers and employees alike lost their footing during COVID-19’s first year. Others view it as the ordinary distrust that accumulates when others in your workplace let you down, gossip about you or others, take credit for your work, fail to honor agreements, cover up mistakes, tell white lies, and fail to own their part of problems.

In virtual environments and without regular in-person interactions to dispel misunderstandings and mend fences, distrust accumulates until it concretizes into walls.  

You can earn your coworkers and managers’ trust. Here’s how:

Remember that trust flow both ways

Ernest Hemingway said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” You can’t expect to earn others’ trust if you don’t extend the benefit of the doubt. If you feel your coworker “wronged” you, ask them about it without flavoring your words with blame. Then listen.

Follow your words with action. Show your trust by giving others the space and opportunity to go above and beyond.

No excuses

We trust those who tell the truth without self-justifications or rationalizations. If you make a mistake, don’t cover it up. Admit it. Learn from it. Don’t make the same mistake twice.

Communicate effectively even when relaying bad news; it takes courage to tell the truth without putting a spin on it.


I view accountability coupled with integrity as the two game-changers we need to thrive as we come out the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. (I believe so strongly in this that during the first year of COVID-19, I wrote Managing for Accountability.)1 Accountable employees take responsibility for results. They hold up their end of the bargain by doing what they say they will and more. By working harder than anyone else. By keeping their word.

Get personal

Don’t let the virtual environment eliminate personal connections. Interact with your coworkers.  Actually care—It takes courage to speak from the heart.

Trust can be broken. It can be rebuilt.

1 Managing for Accountability: A Business Leader’s Toolbox, Business Experts Press, 2021 @businessexpertspress

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2 thoughts on “Restoring Trust in the Workplace:

  1. Since, I have never been married, I have no firsthand experience; that said, failed workplace interactions are similar to divorced couples that I have known. Once lost, trust can never attain that level it once enjoyed.

    Managers and employees need to realize from the get-go that trust is paramount to a cohesive, successful, business.

  2. Good tips here for what employees can do, themselves, to help restore trust in the workplace. Thanks for continuing to remind us about accountability and proactive responses.

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