Check Out These 7 Things That Could Cause Distrust

John Krautzel
Posted by in Career Advice

While earning trust takes time, losing it can happen in an instant. In the professional world, trust is the foundation of a solid relationship, but certain actions, and even your body language, can stir up a lack of trust. Avoid these seven mistakes that can drain someone's trust meter in a matter of seconds.

1. Disregard for Others' Values

Empathy is a key skill for connecting with other people, and a lack of it can make you unable to see what matters to those around you. Remember that every worker may value something different, so take time to find out what that is to improve future communications and dispel any feelings of distrust.

2. Vague Expectations

People in leadership positions who are unclear about what they want from team members are sure to experience a lack of trust down the road. Whenever asking someone to complete a task, practice explaining expectations fully and clearly. However, keep in mind you can still provide plenty of freedom for how something gets done to encourage innovation.

3. Indecisive Wording

Sounding unsure of yourself or your actions, especially around a manager, is an easy way to fuel distrust. Some examples include saying "I'll try," "I think I turned in the project," and "I'm not sure if I can do it." A solid "yes" or even a "no" can go a long way in making you appear more trustworthy.

4. Failure to Follow Up Words with Actions

If you say you're planning to do something but don't follow through, people are less likely to trust your word in the future. The same can happen if you take too long to do something you said you would, such as completing a project on Thursday when you said you'd have it by Monday. Think carefully before making any promises you may be unable to keep.

5. Forced Smiles

Body language can generate a lack of trust even if it's completely unwarranted. One study from 2016 published in Proceedings of the 18th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction found that people may see controlled smiles as a sign that someone is untrustworthy. Try to loosen your smile and avoid giving anyone a tight-lipped grin to increase your trust ratings.

6. Lack of Trust

Acting guarded and distrustful around other people is sure to make them act the same around you. Instead of waiting for others to earn your trust, take the first step by loosening your attitude and sharing some information about yourself. This small gesture generates trust and helps lay the groundwork for a solid relationship.

7. Brown-Nosing

An employee who tries to be too perfect just to move up in the ranks is sure to create a lack of trust among team members. If you're trying to please everyone, especially management, then co-workers may feel they never know what you're truly thinking or feeling. Avoid generating distrust by striving to be genuine with everyone at work.

Curb any behaviors that can generate a lack of trust, and you'll start seeing your relationships at work gradually improve. What other actions and behaviors have you seen or experienced that generate feelings of distrust?

Photo courtesy of reyner media at


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