Rarely does anyone live or work in a vacuum where interactions and relationships with others are not important. The foundation of any relationship, working or personal, rests on the ability to trust one another.

We often simply focus on whether we can trust others. But perhaps more importantly the question to be asked is: Can others trust me?

Whether at your workplace or your home, look to these characteristics to help you build trust.

1) Communicate. Open and honest, constructive communication is probably the most important element in building trust. Sure, promises are made that cannot be kept. When that happens, be honest. Take the time to explain. If you are leading a project and the direction must be changed midstream, share that information with your team members - before the changes are implemented. If you are afraid of the responses you will get, then it is probably even more important that you explain the circumstances sooner than later. If you are willing to trust others by taking the hot seat, others will see that they can trust you when the situation is reversed.

2) Listen. When someone brings information to you that is difficult to hear, take the time to sit quietly and listen. Understand that information that is hard to hear, is also difficult to deliver and they have taken a risk to be the messenger. As you are listening, remember to breathe and give the other person time to deliver the whole message before reacting. As much as we don't want to receive bad news, it is a part of life. Especially in the workplace it is important that you recognize the position of the messenger, provide them with a safe and supportive environment and work with them to create a solution. Listening to bad news in a timely manner, is far better than hearing it later and being unable to find a solution.

3) Be consistent. Nothing wears down trust faster than being unpredictable. One day you are smiling and telling one co-worker to go home early, the next day you are growling at the other person when they leave 5 minutes early. Your personal likes and dislikes for other people do not belong displayed in the workplace. Keep your behaviors consistent and fair. You don't need to like someone to be respectful of them.

4) Tell the truth. I know some people who can take this a little too far. Tell the truth when the outcome of the task, project, work or family dynamics dictates. In other words, the fact that you don't like the color of the person's shirt, is probably not a necessary piece of information to share. However, it is necessary that you admit when an oversight has been made. I value people who can come to me and tell me that they have made an error (or they think they have made an error) and then work with me to find a solution.

5) Do what you say you will. If you have said you will, then do. Haven't you worked with people who have made promises, only to never follow through. And after a point, you stop trusting that they will do anything they say they will.

Finally, having a forgiving nature can be a blessing when it comes to trust. I have worked with people who, when disappointed or hurt, can never forget or forgive. And I have worked with others who are able to let everything go. As with most things, there is a balance. If you are the type of person who can never forgive or forget, then barriers, whether conscious or subconscious may arise, preventing the kind of open, non-judgmental exchange necessary for a trusting relationship. On the other hand, if you are one who lets everything go, there may come a time when someone will take advantage of you, possibly damaging the relationship, the workplace environment or the project.

Author's Bio: 

Andrea G. Gordon is certified as a life purpose and career coach by the Life Purpose Institute© of San Diego, California. She provides individual and group coaching using processes that have been successful with over 40,000 people worldwide since 1984. Andrea’s specialty is helping clients turn life and career challenges into choices that allow them to move forward to reach their life purpose.