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Trust is a very important part of your business, and it’s crucial to build trust with your team and your coworkers. This is the second article in our three-part series on the importance of trust. If you missed the first one, you can read it here.


4 Pillars of Trust

Randy Conley says that there are 4 pillars of trust that will affect your team’s trust and performance: safety, dependability, competence, and character.




Safety is an important component of trust because it makes your team members comfortable enough to be honest with you and authentic. Without safety, your team members won’t feel like they can approach you, and they won’t feel that they can take risks.

Safety can be built up by investing in a comfortable work environment and your relationships with your team members.

A comfortable work environment contributes to their authenticity because it lowers tension and helps them relax. It helps them let their guard down in a healthy way, which physical stress or discomfort would not allow.

Investing in your relationships with your team has a similar effect. It lowers the tension by creating a more approachable atmosphere, so they’re more socially open. It also makes them more comfortable with coming to you if they have any issues.




Dependability is an important component of trust because it allows your team members to rely on you and believe you’ll follow through with your commitments. Without dependability, your team members are not going to feel like you’ve got their back. They’ll believe that you aren’t going to fulfill your responsibilities, and not only will this diminish their trust in you, it’ll cause them to lose respect for you.

To build up dependability, it’s good to set up a clear schedule or calendar for your team so that you’re all able to coordinate and know when you need to complete certain things in order to meet your deadlines. This also helps you hold each other accountable, which builds honesty and connectedness within your team.




Competence is an important component of trust because it shows your team that you are skilled enough to be in your position and that you know what you’re talking about. If you do not have competence in your field, your team is not going to take you seriously. Especially in CS jobs, competence is extremely important, since new languages and development styles are frequently coming out and it’s necessary to keep yourself up to speed with them if you want to remain relevant. Otherwise, you won’t be able to lead your team in new projects because you won’t have the necessary expertise and your team won’t trust your guidance.

You can establish competence by not only educating yourself on the ins and outs of software development, but also by sharing the knowledge you obtain with others and providing them with valuable learning resources.




Character is an important component of trust because it shows your team that there’s a higher purpose to what you do than just earning a paycheck. If you demonstrate character and integrity, it will help your team trust you because they’ll trust that you’re making decisions good for everyone involved, rather than just for yourself. It will also motivate them to have a positive attitude about their job and become higher performing overall.

You can establish character by going the extra mile in projects and not refraining from tackling difficult issues. Maintaining a positive attitude in the face of challenging projects will substantiate character and encourage your team to do the same.




Transparency plays an independent role in trust. If your team knows about the condition of the company, whether it’s good or bad, it will increase their trust in you and cause them to be more productive. If you tell your team when your company is in a rough spot, they’ll be motivated to do everything they can to change that. If you tell your team when your company is doing well, they’ll be motivated to maintain that and continue to work hard. Furthermore, IBM did a study and found that 83% of employees experienced a more positive work environment when they felt there was trust in their managers/organization.

Transparency in your company can be increased by being open and honest, whether it’s about how the company is doing, owning up to a mistake, or commending someone for something they’ve done. When you’re honest, you have nothing to hide, and your transparency and trust will increase.

Putting radical honesty into practice will also increase your transparency. Radical honesty is a mutual understanding between you, your coworkers, and your team members that you can be completely honest with each other for the sake of everyone’s benefit. Radical honesty gives you the ability to challenge each other, push each other to grow, and constantly strive to be better as a team. It gives you the freedom to give constructive criticism without repercussions. 


What about trust in other relationships?


In the next article, we’ll discuss some different ways of building trust in customer relationships. You can subscribe to our mailing list or follow us on twitter to get notified of that and other new articles when they’re released.