Ten Ways To Earn Your Boss’ Trust

One of the greatest hindrances to a good working relationship is lack of trust. This is a huge problem in the workplace, especially with millions spent on team building activities where the main objective is supposedly to increase trust level among participants. It is bad enough if a co-worker does not trust you, but it is 10 times worse if that person is your boss.
Given its importance, how do you make your boss trust you? The best approach depends a lot on the circumstances and on the person involved, but there are things you can do that will likely improve your trust level with your boss.
1. Be reliable. This is perhaps the most important factor you can control. Being reliable does not mean being able to achieve incredible tasks. It is a combination of being consistent and supportive daily and during challenging times. How do you accomplish this? You can begin by coming to work early, every day. Timely presence is one measure of reliability. At the same time, fulfilling your promise is another sign of reliability. If you say you will finish the project before the deadline, be absolutely certain you can do it.
2. Do not prematurely say you will be leaving the company. While you may have plans to move to greener pastures, it does not help if you reveal your plans too early. Even if you confide about your plan just to your co-workers, there is a strong chance that it will leak to your boss. While it is your legal obligation to provide at least 30 days’ notice before you leave, you must be ready for the consequences if you do it earlier than the mandated period. Management would think that you can no longer be trusted to do your regular work properly. Also, if for some reason your plan does not push through, you career may already be irreparably harmed.
3. Treat the business as if it were your own. This is probably the best advice on how to be an employee. Looking at the business from the eyes of the owner will generate many ideas that will please your boss. After all, nobody cares more about the business than its owner.
4. Get to know your boss. The more you know about your boss, the better you can interpret what his thoughts are so that you can understand what he wants. This does not apply only to specific pet peeves like distrusting people who have tattoos or a moustache, but also what he really means when he says or does something.
5. Do not be nosy. Some things are meant to be confidential. Unless the information is volunteered, do not push to find out, especially if it is of sensitive nature and does not have any connection with your work. Reading documents not meant for you will also send red flags about your intentions. There are, of course, situations where you should ask questions. An example of this is if you have doubts about the legality or morality of something; then, it would be prudent to clarify to avoid being embroiled in a problem. You may just be curious, but poking your nose in matters that do not concern you is a sure-fire way of drawing suspicion.
6. Praise but do not flatter. Unlike many people’s belief, most bosses are not as gullible as they seem. In fact, bosses tend to view people who engage in flattery with deep distrust. That said, sincere compliments on accomplishments or other positive aspects would help, but only if it is not overdone.
7. Show expertise and diligence in your work. Being competent and hardworking is still a big factor in gaining your boss’ trust. This aspect becomes more important if what you do is something that other people cannot easily do. Even if you think that politics is all that matters in your company, there will always be a minimum level of capability needed.
8. Keep your boss well-informed on the status and progress of your work. Even with the best intentions, it is possible for your boss to lose track of your work. To avoid unpleasant surprises, take it upon yourself to brief your boss regarding the progress of your assignments. This will increase your reliability brownie points.
9. Do not gossip. It should already be obvious that you must never talk of confidential matters broached to you by your boss, but it is also mandatory that you not reveal other information unnecessarily. Having a reputation as a gossip is a major deterrent to gaining trust.
10. Give useful, candid feedback. When you already have established trust with your boss, there are times when giving honest feedback to him would further enhance this trust. At this point, even negative feedback would be appreciated if he knows you are saying it to help him remedy the problem.
There are many ethical ways to make your boss trust you more. It is up to you to decide what your priorities are for there are times that co-workers may misunderstand your behaviour. You may be content where you are or you can aspire for more. Only you can decide where your interest is better served.

*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-6, Sunday, December 8, 2013. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.