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7 Ways a New Manager Can Build Trust

By Emilie Shoop (1029 words)
Posted in Management on December 19, 2012

There are (7) comments permalink

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By Emilie Shoop, Creator and Leader of Shoop Training & Consulting

“The glue that holds all relationships together - including the relationship between; the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.”  Brian Tracy


All throughout your career you are building others’ trust in you.  You have built trust between you and your coworkers.  Your boss trusts you.  Other departments trust you.  Customers trust you.  What trust have you built from your new role as “the boss”?


Now that you are a manager or supervisor you have to start over with some of these relationships.  A big mistake you can make is to assume that trust comes with your new title.  Everyone has trusted you based on your previous role.  Most will carry that trust forward for the most part.  However, some will not.


In your new role, people have to see that they can trust you with your new responsibility.  How will you handle the budget you are given?  What will you do when there are issues of performance?  And, most importantly, can you handle the new role?


Although you were given this promotion based on your past performance, it is now time to prove you deserve it.  One of the most important areas to focus is trust.  Regardless of budgets, performance, and responsibilities, if people do not trust you, nothing else matters.  Once you have lost, broken, or bruised trust, it can be almost impossible to regain it.


Here are seven ways that you as a new manager can build trust in your role:

1: Work on You.

Fortunately or unfortunately you are the only one who can work on your own trustworthiness.  You cannot make people trust you by telling them that they should, you have to earn it.  You cannot make others be trustworthy, that is their responsibility.  The only person you can affect is yourself.

2: Be honest. 

It may seem odd to call it out here, but be sure to be honest with others.  Especially when taking on a new role, people tend to embellish their ability and confidence.  Now is not the time to pretend or try to slide through and hope others don’t notice.  If you don’t know something, ask. 


3: Have follow-through. 

When you make commitments, follow-through.  You are busier now more than ever, but that is no excuse for not getting things done.  If you are falling behind, be honest, and ask for help (time to delegate?).  If you cannot make it to a meeting, reschedule or decline.  If someone comes up with a great idea, don’t just say “let’s do that someday”, figure out how.


4: Keep information flowing. 

Error on the side of too much information.  Let people know what is going on, what you are doing about it, how it affects them…anything you can.  Then be open to questions as much as possible.  Particularly when it comes to change, people need to know so they can relax and get their work done.


5: Be aware of those that aren't trustworthy. 

It is now your job to lead your team.  As their leader you must also protect them from ill-willed individuals.  Make an effort to not allow your team to be hurt by those that are not trustworthy within your team itself, or within your organization.


6: Empower. 

Allow your team to get creative in finding solutions to problems.  Let them do their job and do it well.  Mistakes will happen, but see it as an opportunity to learn.  You didn't want to micromanage anyway, right?

7: Involve others. 

Especially when decisions are being made that affect their job or workflow, it is always better to include everyone at some level.  People have an innate desire to have their voice be heard and feel like someone cares about them.  When you involve them in decisions that affect them, this need is met.


As you grow in your new role and learn about your responsibilities, be sure to do a self-check here and there on your own trustworthiness.  Make certain it is a conscious effort to build others’ trust in you.  How are you doing?  Where can you improve?  If you were the other person, would you trust you?


Building trust doesn't happen overnight.  It comes through consistency day in day out.  Most people cannot look at someone and know the day they decided they would trust them.  It is just something that comes with time, nurturing, and a commitment to not take trust for granted.


Please join the conversation in 'This Week's Discussion'

Written by Emilie Shoop
First Time Manager or Supervisor Expert for ManagingAmericans.com, Creator and Leader of Shoop Training & Consulting


Ask our Expert Panel a question in the First Time Manager Ask an Expert Forum.


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Comments (7)

Stéphane Parent posted on: December 26, 2012

I seem to recall that lack of trust was Lencioni's first dysfunction in "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team".
One of my favourite trust-building exercise with a new team is asking for everyone to share something of themselves that few people know of them. How do you build trust among your teammates?

Karina Paganelli posted on: December 26, 2012

Really great article! Love it!

Lynn Lionhood posted on: December 26, 2012

It is the level of trust you have with your manager that makes or breaks the team, your performance and the developmental journey within the organization you serve. A bad manager can make or break your career. Equally, if a manager is ineffective at earning trust – the lack of team performance will speak for itself and turnover will become increasingly apparent. You can’t hide if you are an ineffective manager who has trouble earning trust.

poonam bhandari posted on: December 29, 2012

A person can develop trust on others only when he trust himself.

Scott Simmerman posted on: December 29, 2012

There are companies where that number will be 90% and others where that number simply may not exist. I have seen managers new to jobs where the previous manager was "force retired" and there were layoffs. An attitude survey under the circumstances is probably not warranted.

Good workplaces are that way for a variety of good reasons; the reverse image of that also occurs.

Watch the Before / After situation in the movie White Water (with Alan Alda) where he takes his guys on a Team Building Trip that does not go all that well...

Interesting thing, trust...

Kenny Zail posted on: December 29, 2012

Generally - 60% will give you the benefit of the doubt and trust you, 30% will have a wait and see attitude and 10% will not trust you from the start.

Thomas Clarence posted on: May 4, 2021

I thought you brought up an interesting point when you explained that you have to earn the trust of your coworkers when you are a business leader. If I were to guess, I would imagine that it would be hard to teach yourself the leadership qualities you need to be a good leader. Investing in some leadership coaching and development would probably be the best way to help yourself grow.

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