How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
To gain trust, you can be reliable, honest and avoid harming others. Yet there is one more way to trust, and it is the most powerful way.
Seek to help others. Go out of your way to support them in their attempts to meet their needs and achieve their goals. Do this even (and especially) if this causes you some difficulty.
In other words, be a friend. Sometimes we think of our friends as people who will help us when we need something. But to be a real friend you should think first of what you can give, of what you can get.
A person learns that a colleague is moving. They offer to help and spend much of the weekend carrying boxes.
A delivery manager gains trust of his employees by rolling up his sleeves and pitching in to shipping work when there is a sudden increase in orders that would mean people having to work late.
When we give, we set up a reciprocal dynamic, creating an obligation to repay the debt at some time in the future. We also create trust. When I give you something and do not immediately ask for something in return, then I am showing trust in you. So you are then obliged to trust me in return.
Even more powerful than helping is to do so when we suffer in the process. To show that we care enough to put others before ourselves is a rare mark of true friendship and selflessness. When we sacrifice our future for that if others we show ourselves to be ultimately trustworthy.
Yet there can be a backlash to this. When you help others too much, they may feel the reciprocal obligation as a burden, and consequently blame you for this discomfort. They may interpret your helping actions as manipulative, seeking to create obligation that forces them to give that which they do not want to give. In this way, trust can go down.
Giving too much can also make you appear as if you are weak and effectively trying to bribe people so they will not harm you. Like the playground wimp who hopefully smiles and gives sweets to the bullies, the response may be that they sneer and reduce your social status.
So give, but be careful with your giving. Help in ways that are appreciated. Be strategic in your sacrifices to enhance your reputation, not to appear weak. Also be genuine. Faked care tends to get found out with negative consequences. When you truly and unselfishly care for others they will trust and care about you in return.