13 Ways to Rebuild Trust

Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships.

Steven Covey

Trust is the foundation to every relationship. Once trust is broken, it makes having a healthy relationship difficult. Trust is the glue that allows people to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Trust allows people to be vulnerable with their thoughts, feelings, dreams, and concerns. Trust is what makes bonds of friendship special.

trustSo what do you do when trust has been broken? How do I rebuild what has been broken? Is it even possible?

Though it may be difficult, it is possible to rebuild trust. It may not happen overnight. But it is something that can be reestablished if both people believe in the potential of the relationship and are willing to work to make things work.

Trust is a two-way street. Both people must be willing to see each other without the filter of pain, and disappointment. It is not always easy, but it is possible.

Many times people want to get things back on track, but “want-to” isn’t enough to rebuild trust. Understanding the key ingredients that must be done consistently and applying them is what will give you a chance to win the heart of the person again.

Here are 13 ways to rebuild trust in your relationship from my friends at Felicia Hall Allen & Associates:

  1. Talk Straight. Be honest. Tell the truth. Let people know where you stand, and call things what they are. Let “your yes be yes, and your no be no.”
  2. Demonstrate Respect. Treat everyone with respect. Show kindness in the little things. Behave in ways that demonstrate caring and concern.
  3. Create Transparency. Transparency is about being open, real, genuine, and telling the truth in a way that people can verify.
  4. Right Wrongs. Make things right when you’re wrong. Apologize quickly and demonstrate personal humility. Don’t ever cover things up!
  5. Show Loyalty. Go out of your way to give credit freely.
  6. Deliver Results. Before you make a commitment, make sure it’s realistic. Don’t over promise and under deliver.
  7. Get Better. Two strategies that are helpful in maximizing your effort: seek feedback, and learn from mistakes. Many times we don’t get better because we don’t ask for honest feedback from others.
  8. Confront Reality. Confronting reality is about taking the tough issues head on. Avoiding tough issues won’t make them go away. In fact, it tends to make things worse.
  9. Clarify Expectations. Create shared vision and agreement about what is to be done up front. This allows for everyone to be on the same page, and have a common interest in making things work.
  10. Practice Accountability. There are two key dimensions to practicing accountability. You must be willing to hold yourself accountable for your personal goals and values, and be willing to be held accountable by others for mutually agreed goals.
  11. Listen First. Listen before you speak. Failure to understand typically results in a failure to be understood.
  12. Keep Commitments. The quickest way to build trust in any relationship is to keep commitments. Every time you keep the commitment, you take a step closer toward rebuilding the trust you are aiming for.
  13. Extend Trust. Give what you want to receive. If you want people to trust you, you must also be willing to extend trust to others. Giving people the benefit of the doubt is a powerful way to change the tone of the relationship, and makes it easier for them to extend the same courtesy to you.
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