Career Report
October, 2011 — Issue 140


Building Trust with your Boss

Maintaining a trusting relationship with your boss can be a definite plus for your career but, according to an article from, establishing that rapport can be difficult and may take a significant amount of time. Still, in the end, the article pointed out, it will be well worth the effort.

“Trust is the most important ingredient for a workplace to function correctly,” said Robert Whipple, chief executive of Leadergrow, Inc., a leadership development firm, who added that it’s especially important to build a genuine relationship with your superior.

With that in mind, here are some tips from on how to build a sense of trust with your boss:

Skip the gossip — Whether you are complaining about others in the company or telling your work friends how much you dislike your boss, any kind of gossip can backfire.

“Complaining to your co-workers about your boss is a sure-fire way to plant the seeds of distrust with your boss,” said Brandon Smith, an expert in workplace health and dysfunction. He recommends being especially careful while sharing work-related complaints on social networks such as Facebook. “Eventually, it will get back to him or her and they will see you as an enemy versus an ally,” he added.

Provide updates — Most bosses don’t micromanage, so it’s up to you to provide updates on your projects and build their sense of trust in your work, the article noted. “By proactively providing a status update regarding your progress on a regular basis, you enhance trust because your manager doesn’t wonder what you are up to and doesn’t have to ask,” Smith said.

Don’t promise too much — It can be easy to commit to several projects, only to find out you can’t finish them all at the end of the day. “Poor follow-up trashes trust,” Whipple told Even if your boss isn’t looking over your shoulder, make a point of meeting any deadlines you’ve set for yourself and don’t set the bar too high.”

Never hold back pertinent information — Even if something you tell your boss may cast you in a bad light, omitting details is a definite no, said Kristi Hedges, a managing partner at Element North, a leadership development firm. “Tell it straight and avoid lies of omission,” she added. “Don’t hold back information that may be hard to deliver, or feedback that [your boss] needs to be successful.”

Be a team player — For many supervisors, trust is determined by how employees interact with their peers. It’s important to work as a team and contribute where your help is needed rather than solely seeking attention for your own projects. “There’s a fine line between being ambitious and seeming to be out for yourself,” Hedges said.

Go beyond the office — Learning about your boss on a casual basis can be a great way to develop a stronger rapport, Smith added. “Whether it’s an occasional lunch with your manager or the casual non-work-related conversation, by getting to know him or her on a more personal level, you build trust because you find more points of connection,” he said. Ask for feedback during these informal gatherings, which can also help you establish a more trusting relationship.

Demonstrate Consistency — Another way employees can build trust is by “demonstrating a stable mood and composure, and reacting consistently to challenges,” Hedges told If you tend to have weeks of productivity coupled with days where you’re less productive, aim to be more consistent. “You can undermine all of the benefit you get from a stellar project by seeming to check out the week after that,” she said.

As you continue to build trust with your boss, it’s important to also consider what kind of messages you’re getting back,” Smith added. “Sometimes we try to build trust with a boss who isn’t worthy of our trust,” he said. “If you see you’re boss is unethical, abusive, manipulative, unstable or incompetent, keep a healthy distance.” And be aware that some supervisors punish employees for revealing too much or being too trusting – so it pays to be careful with those types of managers.

News from BLK

Bob Larson, CPC, received an award at the National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS) 50th Anniversary Celebration thanking him for his contributions to the staffing industry and for ongoing support of certification programs. “I was truly flattered to be honored by so many of my staffing peers”, said Bob.

BLK’s webinar series continues to receive rave reviews from job-seekers across the globe. Thank you for your positive comments; we will continue this monthly free series as part of our mission to assist all those that are looking for work. Click here to register for our upcoming webinar.

BLK is proud to have had its blog recognized for its consistency, candor and insight into the job market by a group of staffing industry blog reviews. To read latest blog entries click here .

Berman Larson Kane’s community service projects during the month of September will include, hosting the Bergen-Rockland SHRM PHR certification preparatory classes, providing our conference room to MIS Networking Group and continuing our free webinar series for job-seekers. “It is our pleasure to be involved in these community employment projects during this challenging high unemployment period”, said Bob Larson.