The Five Best Ways to Build – and Lose – Trust in the Workplace

Dave Bowman, TTG Consultants

Updated For Supervisors


Trust is one of the most important elements in an efficient and happy workplace and it can often be the reason why some organizations succeed and others fail. Building trust in the workplace often falls to management. Management and leaders set the example for how to behave in the workplace, and then pass that example down the chain of command and throughout the organization.

Good and bad habits alike can work their ways into every corner of a workplace, which is why it so important that leaders and managers work to maintain trustfulness and trustworthiness.

In the article The Five Best Ways to Build – and Lose – Trust in the Workplace, author Dave Bowman covers five ways to gain trust, and five ways to lose trust among your employees.

To build trust, Bowman recommends leaders:

  • Establish a foundation of integrity
  • Communicate vision and values
  • Treat all employees as equal partners
  • Focus on shared goals
  • Do what’s right, regardless of personal risk

Bowman also warns that leaders can lose trust by:

  • Acting inconsistently
  • Seeking personal, rather than shared, gain
  • Withhold information
  • Lie or tell half-truths
  • Be close-minded

From the Article

Consider all employees as equal partners. Trust is established when even the newest rookie, a part-timer, or the lowest paid employee feels important and part of the team. This begins with management not being aloof, as well as getting out and meeting the troops. This should be followed by leaders seeking opinions and ideas (and giving credit for them), knowing the names of employees and their families and treating one and all with genuine respect.


  • In the past, what have your managers or leaders done to gain your trust? Did they ever lose your trust? How?
  • If you are a leader, manager or supervisor, what do you need to change about your behavior to build more trust in your team?

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