The process of building trust is like threading a very fine needle. It takes patience and effort. Losing trust, unfortunately, is a swift process.

At work, you could spend months trying to get your boss to trust you with an important task, or your colleague to trust you to be their confidante, but all of a sudden you might find yourself frozen out, which may leave you lost and bewildered. This is most probably because somewhere along the line, knowingly or unknowingly, you’ve managed to erode their trust in you.

Here are some checks that will avoid erosion of trust:

Follow Deadlines:

If you’ve told your boss you’ll submit your deliverable on a particular day, make sure you follow through. If something urgent comes up, inform your boss as soon as you can. The more deadlines you miss, the less likely your boss is to trust you with important work.

Listen, But Don’t Judge:

If your colleague tells you something personal in confidence, make sure they don’t feel judged; give them the space to be vulnerable around you. Also make sure you don’t repeat it–while they may enjoy your company, no one ever trusts the office gossip with the things that matter.

Do Not Over-Commit:

Don’t over-commit about what you can and can’t do. If you don’t have the skills to do a task, but claim you can do it, chances are you will fail when called upon to perform that task. Letting your team and boss down–and signaling yourself as a liar–is not a great way to build trust.


In a team setting, there are always two goals in play: yours and those of the team. Don’t be the person who misses team meetings for your own work. Your goals are important, but teamwork is equally important and you have to prioritize according to urgency and communicate clearly. This can be a crucial thing that breaks trust at work

I hope these tips will help you to prevent erosion of trust at work. 

For more detailed information on how to avoid erosion of trust at the workplace, or how to build it back, check out Harappa Education’s course on Establishing Trust.

Aishwarya Agarwal is a Young India Fellow and a LAMP Fellow. A curriculum researcher at Harappa Education, she moonlights as a stand-up comic. This was a well-kept secret…till her cover was blown.

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