Trust is confidence in someone or something, believability; the opposite of suspicion and distrust.

Consider the words of Gandhi about the topic of trust, "The moment there is suspicion about a person’s motives, everything he does becomes tainted."

The day-to-day experiences people have with you go a long way towards establishing your reputation as someone who can (or cannot) be trusted. The degree to which people trust you will cause your career to flourish — or languish.

As you read this article, chances are there people in your life making important decisions that affect you and your career, and those decisions are usually based on how they feel about your trustworthiness:

  • Are they the right person for the role I need to fill?
  • Can I trust them with the information I’d like to share?
  • If I give this assignment to them, can they be trusted to handle it well?
  • Do I trust them to do a good job working with this client or team?

With so much riding on trust, now is a good time to self-assess for these five "Trust Destroyers," and what can be to build trust instead:

Trust Destroyer No. 1: Not Doing What You Said You Would Do

"I’ll take care of this today," and you don’t (after all, what’s one more day?). "I’ll be there at 8:30," and you aren’t (so I was 5 minutes late…big deal).

When you are characterized by not doing what you said you would do, why should anyone trust you ever?

Trust Builder: Instead, write down each commitment as you make it, and then do it like you said you would do. You control what it is that you promise, so don’t promise anything you won’t deliver.

Better to underpromise and overdeliver than promise what doesn’t happen.

Trust Destroyer No. 2: Gossip

Gossip is the idle talk or rumors about the private affairs of others, usually told to one person at a time.

If you are gossiping about Sally to me, what stops you from gossiping about me to Sally? And if you gossip at all, why would I trust you to keep anything in confidence?

Trust Builder: Stop discussing private affairs with others. If it is not positive and helpful to others, it is better left unsaid. Even Solomon observed, "Even a fool is thought to wise when he remains silent."

Trust Destroyer No. 3: Avoiding Responsibility

We all make mistakes, mishandle situations, or fall short of expectations. What is remembered long after our mistake, mishandled expectation, or shortfall in expectation is how we responded. Did we ignore it, or make excuses, or blame it on someone or something else?

Trust Builder: Admit your mistakes, apologize to others who were impacted, and tell them what you will do to resolve the situation or expectation. Then, follow up to make sure it happens as you said it would.

Trust Destroyer No. 4: Don't Make Time to Listen

When you become too busy to listen to people, you send a message of disrespect and as a consequence, a loss of trust. The important people in your career (supervisors, customers, staff, peers, shareholders, and stakeholders) all have a choice of who to trust and it won’t be the person who has no time to listen to them.

Trust Builder: Set aside time to listen to people without multitasking. Headphones off and take notes so you can follow up. Maintain a pleasant level of eye contact, open body language, and ask questions.

Trust Destroyer No. 5: Be Unclear in Your Expectations

People cannot perform their best when they are unclear about what is expected. They will lose trust in leadership when leadership is unclear about what it wants to occur. This occurs when leadership keeps important details unsaid, or seems unwilling to share all the details of an important project.

Trust Builder: Explain outcomes in very specific detail: what is expected, when it is expected, why it is important to meet the expectation, how results will be measured, what resources are available, and how you will follow up.