What to do when you’re not winning in the trust department at work

The looming feeling that people in your office don’t think they can rely on you can be a rough spot to be in. Here’s how to win trust at work — whether it’s from your coworkers, your direct reports or your own boss.

Don’t leave colleagues hanging

Organizational dynamics expert and author Esther Derby writes on the StickyMinds website that for coworkers to increase trust, you should “follow through on commitments, or give early notice when you can’t.”

“In order for teams to function, team members need to believe that their coworkers are reliable. Without the confidence that others are reliable and will carry their share of the load, few will commit to a shared goal,” she writes. “No reasonable person expects that every person can meet every commitment all the time.

“Sometimes a piece of code turns out to be more complex than anticipated, or we discover we didn’t fully understand the task when we made our estimate. But when you wait until the moment the task was due to let people know it’s going to be late, you appear unreliable. So let people know as soon as you know, and renegotiate,” Derby added.

Know what your manager wants to achieve

Lea McLeod, author of The Resume Coloring Book and founder of The Job Success Lab, writes in The Muse that you should “understand his or her goals.”

“All employees should know their direct manager’s goals, objectives, and desired outcomes. If you aren’t clear on those things, now’s the time to set up a one-on-one meeting to fix that. Why? Because everything you do is directly tied to that. By understanding his or her goals, you’ll be able to see how your work ties into the group’s success,” she writes. “(Plus, by seeing how you’re part of something bigger than your day-to-day responsibilities, you’ll up your satisfaction factor at work, too.),” she writes.

Humanize yourself

You might just find common ground with your coworkers.

Lindsay Olson, a founding partner and public relations recruiter at Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com and the chief editor of HooHireWire, writes in U.S. News & World Report that you should “get a little personal” if you want to improve your communication skills at your workplace.

“People let their guards down when you talk about their lives outside of work. Ask about a co-worker’s kid’s soccer tournament. Find ways to interact on a personal level without going too far. You’ll go a long way toward building trust,” she writes.

Don’t make it all about you

Art Petty, a leadership and management author, software executive and adjunct professor at DePaul University, writes in The Balance that managers who want to boost trust should “shine the spotlight brightly on everyone else” after mentioning his experience.

“No one trusts the manager who constantly elbows her way to the center of the spotlight for the team’s accomplishments. Step back into the shadows and your team members will repay you many times over,” he writes.