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5 Ways to Build Trust in Your First Job


By Lea McLeod, M.A. , Founder & CEO, Degrees of Transition

For it is mutual trust, even more than mutual interest,
that holds human associations together. — H.L. Mencken

{#/pub/images/5WaystoBuildTrustinYourFirstJob.jpg}Have you ever rolled your eyes in frustration because a friend committed to do something and then didn’t follow through? Maybe you were counting on him to help you move into your first apartment, and he finds some last minute excuse not to show up … and he has the truck.

The next time you’re inclined to rely on him you think, “This is probably going to be more of a hassle than it’s worth.” And you move on.

Well, in any job that’s not the guy you want to be. And it’s especially true for your first job.

Welcome to the company, your job is to build trust

You won’t find this in your new employee orientation guide or on the list of to-dos for the first week. But building trust with your manager, your peers, your clients, is one of the most important missions of your first job.

Building trust is far more complex than telling people “trust me.” It requires a demonstration of consistent behavior and character, that, over time, enables others to have confidence in you.

Proving yourself to be trust-worthy demonstrates your leadership potential in the organization, and allows your team’s work to get done more quickly and efficiently.

Trust is fundamental to self-leadership. Without it, you can not lead others.

So as you’re digging in to your cubicle, figuring out where the coffee machine is and learning how to log on the network, be intentional about building trust with your new team.

1. Demonstrate integrity. Be a “person of your word.” Do what you say, say what you do. Whether it’s showing up for a meeting at the appointed hour, or agreeing to help someone in work overload, do it. This helps people build confidence in you.

2. Be transparent. Because you’re new, people will assess you based on your behavior. Tell them what’s going on if you have to arrive late, leave early or otherwise disrupt your work. This helps others jump to good, rather than wrong, conclusions about you.

3. Treat others generously. By this I mean give praise when it’s due, be respectful, use “please” and “thank you”. Good manners and common courtesy go miles. This creates mutuality, and helps others want to support you.

4. Converse constructively. Focus on talk that is constructive, solutions oriented, and respectful. Say good things about people to others. This contributes to building your good reputation.

5. Own it. Admit when you are wrong. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know. Take personal responsibility for your errors or omissions. Then determine what you can do to correct them. This demonstrates honesty and humility, essential components of trusting relationships.

Just as you depend on friends to be reliable in showing up with the truck to help you move, your employer depends on you to show up with integrity in the workplace.

High trust teams move faster and achieve better results. And you have a brilliant cornerstone for your career start.

{#/pub/images/LeaMcLeod.jpg}Written by Lea McLeod, M.A., Founder & CEO, Degrees of Transition 

Lea works extensively with new grads who are tackling the job search for the first time.  She is a guest speaker, as well as facilitator of the “Find a Job Faster” Job Search Program and “Developing Patterns of Success” Workshop & Webinar series, bringing over 20 years of director level experience, most recently with Hewlett-Packard, managing, leading and serving worldwide employees. She holds a degree in Marketing from St. Bonaventure University, and a Master of Arts in Organization Development from Seattle University.


Do you have a question for Lea?  Post it here in our College Student/Recent Grad Community, she will be happy to help: Ask An Expert 


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