Whether you are new in your job and want to make a good impression, you’ve recently made a mistake at and want to get back in your boss’s good graces, or you simply want to put yourself in line for a promotion or better projects, you need to work on building trust. Trust is the foundation of any good working relationship. Without it, you’re unlikely to ever have the opportunity for more high-profile assignments, and you’re going to struggle to reach your career goals.

Of course, just as in your personal relationships, trust in the workplace has to be earned. It’s going to take time. That being said, you can improve your boss’s trust in you - and your overall reputation in the company - by constantly working on your own competence and establishing your integrity. Here are some ways to do that.

1. Expand Your Expertise and Skillset

You were hired because you brought a specific set of skills to the company. Your boss thought you would bring value to the department. Even if you are following through on that process, don’t rest on your laurels. Staying competitive requires constantly working on yourself and finding ways to grow and improve. Look for ways to improve your skills. This might mean attending seminars, joining industry groups and participating in educational events or even going back to school. Enrolling in an accredited online MBA program, for instance, allows you to earn a business degree while you are still working, and in many cases, the material you cover in your courses can be immediately applied to your work. Ongoing learning improves your competence, which in turn builds your boss’s confidence in your abilities.

2. Follow Through on Your Commitments

It might go without saying, but doing what you say you are going to do, when you say you’re going to do it, is a major factor in building and keeping trust. Your boss needs to be able to rely on you to deliver on your promises, so when you are constantly running behind, not completing your projects on time, or forgetting the details, it doesn’t inspire confidence. Commit to following through 100 percent of the time and doing whatever is necessary to ensure that you meet expectations. Don’t be the person that your boss has to check up on all the time but rather the one they count on to always be reliable.

3. Put Your Needs Last 

This doesn’t necessarily mean skipping lunch or bathroom breaks or working every weekend, although you might need to put in some extra time now and then. Rather, putting your own needs last means putting your agenda and goals aside when making decisions that affect the department or the company as a whole. For example, when your department is considering a new hire, you might be hesitant to recommend a candidate that has a similar background to yours, as they will be competition for the best projects and future promotions. However, if the candidate is the right fit for the job and can bring new ideas, they are the right one. Work on becoming someone who is known for being fair in their decision-making and who doesn’t let personal biases or agendas get in the way. Your boss will trust your recommendations and decisions.

4. Empower Your Boss 

Like it or not, part of your job is to make your boss look good. That means not letting them get caught off guard and anticipating their needs, so they are prepared and things run smoothly. For example, if you hear news that an unhappy client is shopping for a new firm, tell your boss, and don’t let them find out when it’s too late. Or, if you know that they have trouble with the technology in meetings, offer to take care of the presentation hardware, so all they have to do is talk. Be aware of your boss’s priorities and goals, and align your actions and decisions to them. Eventually, you will become indispensable.


5. Communicate

Trust in any situation is built on communication, and it’s no different with your boss. You need to communicate, even if it means confessing a mistake. Being honest and upfront, even if it means throwing yourself under the bus, will establish trust. But even more than just admitting your mistakes, communicating effectively with your boss means learning how they prefer to communicate and giving them the information they need when they need it. In other words, do they want regular face-to-face updates? Or a will a weekly email on the status of your projects do? Are they one for short, informal conversations, or do you need to schedule time to talk? Learning and respecting those preferences, and adapting to them, will help build trust.

Gaining your boss’s trust helps create a happy and productive work environment and can put you in line for promotions in the future - and a higher salary. There isn’t a downside, so put these tips into action today.

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