Hameeda has been part of Nakul’s team for a few months now. Over time, she realized that Nakul withholds information about projects and tries to micromanage everyone on the team. Hameeda feels uncomfortable working on Nakul’s team because he shows a lack of trust in his team members. To achieve success in the workplace, it’s essential that a team trusts their leaders, as well as each other.

This is a basic example of why trustworthiness is necessary at work. It not only affects internal dynamics but also individual effectiveness and productivity. Let’s see how to be trustworthy, and the importance and examples of trustworthiness in the workplace. 

  1. Let’s Explore The Meaning Of Trustworthiness

  2. Why Does Trust Matter At Work?

  3. How To Become Trustworthy At Work

  4. Learn How To Show Trustworthiness With Harappa

Let’s Explore The Meaning Of Trustworthiness


Trustworthiness is the ability to be honest, dependable and reliable. In professional settings, it’s the assurance that someone will get things done. It’s a vital component of an effective and efficient workplace environment. The absence of trust can strain interpersonal relationships, giving rise to unnecessary conflicts and fallouts. Without trust, there is no teamwork and without efficient teamwork, there is no growth. In addition to business success, trust is necessary for your professional development.

Here are some common features of trustworthiness:

  • Trust begets trust. When you show others that you can be trusted, you take the first step. It encourages others to put their trust in you.

  • Showing consistency and demonstrating your reliability is how you gain the confidence and trust of others.

  • Being trustworthy creates a positive influence and improves the work culture. You contribute to a change in the office atmosphere.

  • You open doors to new interpersonal relationships that go beyond the scope of work. You may make friends at work who value the relationship as much as you do.

  • To establish trust and influence others, you need to demonstrate it. In other words, you need to focus on actions, rather than arguments.

Why Does Trust Matter At Work?


If you look at well-performing organizations around the globe, you’ll notice the effort they put in toward building an employee-centric culture and improving employee engagement. Research suggests that negative workplace atmospheres can create highly stressful situations for everyone. In such scenarios, employees are likely to withhold themselves, that is, limit their talents, creativity and passion. When they’re not being their authentic selves, businesses are likely to suffer as productivity and efficiency take a hit.

Whether it’s a friend or colleague, you need to earn their trust to establish any sort of relationship. In other words, trust is the foundation of any relationship. Successful businesses are built on strong relationships, which rely on trust. A few common examples of trustworthiness include delegating responsibility and trusting your teams to get the job done, collaborating with a coworker for a project and providing honest feedback. Remember the success of any organization depends on its building blocks—teams. You need a strong network of people if you want to advance in your role and career.

The meaning of trustworthiness can be categorized in two ways:

  1. Practical

In this type of trust, people rely on your competence and the ability to get things done. Some practical examples of trustworthiness include meeting your commitments, showing up on time and doing what you said you would do. In short, people trust you to get the job done.


  1. Emotional

In this type of trust, people believe that you are on their side. They have confidence in you and know that you’ll treat them with respect, empathy and kindness. Emotional trust is complex and requires a certain level of emotional intelligence. The good news is that emotional intelligence can be acquired through practice. Emotional examples of trustworthiness include honest feedback loops and keeping an open mind about someone’s failures and weaknesses.

How To Become Trustworthy At Work

Stephen M. R. Covey, the American author and public speaker, discusses examples of trustworthiness at length in his book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything (2006). He suggests that trust-building is learnable and anything you need to do can be improved with trust.

Before you build trust in your relationships, you might want to consider assessing it. If you want to assess why someone doesn’t trust you or why you don’t trust others, you can use the Trust Equation, which includes components such as credibility, reliability, intimacy and self-orientation.

Here’s how you can use the Trust Equation to your advantage and establish strong relationships with others.

  • Credibility

  1. Be Honest

Telling the truth is fundamental. It may seem the most obvious thing to do but can be highly difficult, especially when you find yourself in complex situations. For example, if you fall behind a project deadline, muster the courage and come clean to your manager. You don’t want to be discovered as a liar.


  1. Admit That You Don’t Know

Not knowing the answer to something doesn’t necessarily make you look bad. Not everyone knows the answer to everything. When you don’t know the solution to something, it’s best to acknowledge that you don’t know or don’t remember.


  1. Admit When You’re Wrong

Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes. Being harsh on yourself or hiding your setbacks isn’t healthy. If you’re wrong, it’s best to admit that you’re wrong. It not only shows your courage but also your accountability toward the organization.

  • Reliability

  1. Do It If You Said So

Imagine someone cancels your meeting at the last minute. It doesn’t feel good, does it? You may even feel that the individual is likely to repeat this in the future. To show that you’re reliable, foster the habit of doing what you say you will. Follow through with your commitments and if there are any changes, inform the people involved in advance.


  1. Do It If You’re Meant To

To show that you’re fully committed to your role and the organization, you need to finish your tasks. For example, if your manager trusts you with a task, you need to follow through and deliver results on time. Avoid letting it slip onto someone else’s plate as it shows unreliability and ineffectiveness.


  1. Explain Your Thought Process

Communication is key to establishing trust. When you’re transparent and communicate your actions and intentions, people can confidently trust you. For example, talking through a business idea and telling your team why you’re suggesting it provides a ground for trust.

  • Intimacy

  1. Extend Trust

As we’ve already mentioned: trust begets trust. If you want others to trust you, then you need to show that you’re trustworthy. Be the first one to communicate, be transparent and share your authentic self with others.


  1. Include Others

If you want others to trust you, you need to make them feel included. Often, in brainstorming sessions or group discussions, people don’t want to impose and therefore keep to themselves. By encouraging them to share their thoughts and ideas, you’re not only making them feel included but also gaining their confidence.


  1. Monitor Your Reactions

It’s a healthy practice to be mindful of your reactions when interacting with others. An untimely laugh or scoff may hurt their feelings and negatively impact your relationship. If people don’t feel safe around you when they are being themselves, they may hold back their ideas or solutions. Keep an open mind and pay attention to your reactions.

  • Self-Orientation

  1. Give Others A Chance

Never dominate conversations; it shows that you don’t care what others have to share. Instead, invite people to participate in discussions by asking questions. Make them feel included and show them that it’s a two-way relationship. Make them feel valued and respected.


  1. Listen Actively

If you’re in a conversation, don’t wait for your chance to talk. Instead, listen with intent and participate in the conversation if necessary. Ask questions that not only further the conversation but also give way for diverse opinions and perspectives. Show others that you’re engaged and you’re truly listening.


  1. Take Responsibility

When something goes wrong and if you’re to blame, take responsibility for your actions. It’s better to admit that something went wrong than trying to pin it on others. When you take responsibility, it shows you have integrity.

It’s safe to say that trust has the power to improve employee experience and is essential for a safe and productive workplace.

Learn To Show Trustworthiness With Harappa

Trustworthiness is the glue that holds teams together and motivates people to deliver their best. If you want your team to grow together, turn to Harappa’s Establishing Trust course. It’ll help you build and maintain trust-rich relationships by focusing on credibility and openness, honoring commitments, being empathetic and prioritizing the needs of your team. Powerful frameworks such as the Trust Equation and the Trust Toolkit will teach you to assess, map and maintain trustworthiness. Trust yourself, try Harappa!

Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as The Importance of Building Relationships, What Is A Rapport, Characteristics Of An Extrovert and Advantages Of Being An Ambivert to build strong professional networks.

Related articles

Discover more from Harappa with a selection of trending blogs on the latest topics in online learning and career transformation