Trust is one of those things that takes a very long time to build and yet can be wiped out in an instant. In some relationships, trust is eroded gradually but other times, a major act of betrayal or dishonesty can virtually destroy trust overnight causing sometimes irreparable damage.
Trust is important in every relationship we are involved in including personal relationships with family, friends, children or spouses as well as professional relationships with clients, professors, colleagues, partners and employers.
One way to strengthen and rebuild trust in any relationship is to practice being consistent and honest. Think carefully before you promise something so that you can say what you mean and then do what you say. This practice is a good one to implement for both personal and business relationships. Little things can often build trust, for instance if you say you’ll take the garbage out in the morning, make sure you do it. If you tell your child you will be there for their birthday, make sure you’re there. This is especially important for parents because a child’s ability to trust is being developed by how trustworthy they view the adults in their life.
Trust plays an important role in work teams also because if you say you’ll be at a meeting, your employer counts on you to be there. When you tell co-workers or group members you’ll finish a portion of a project, make sure it gets done or at least you give them a heads up if it won’t be ready on time. Your reputation is on the line every time you swear by a product because a client or customer trusts you to help them make an informed decision.
Big things like infidelity, lying, dishonesty or theft can destroy trust virtually overnight but often it’s the little things we do everyday that can quietly eat away at the trust in a relationship unnoticed until there is nothing left.
Be mindful of how trustful you are to the people who are important in your life. Are you giving them reasons to trust you more? Or less? Make sure your daily behaviors are in line with your promises and you’ll reap the rewards of developing trusting relationships.