Trust is a Two Way Street

Trust is a two way street – it cannot be built  by the actions of just one individual – it needs equal participation from all parties involved. In my last post, I wrote about why it is important for managers to trust the abilities of their team members. In this post, I would like to share my thoughts on what should the individual be doing to help build trust with their managers.

Most often than not, we expect our manger to be the trustor while we continue to be the trustee – which implies that the only one taking the risk is the manager! Remember being trustworthy is only one side of the trust pyramid – the other side is trusting. Therefore, to make the trust pyramid cohesive, roles have to constantly reverse.

 What can you do differently to build a trust –based relationship with your manager:

  • Get to know her. Remember there is an individual and not a designation that you are interacting with and need to work with.  Like any other individual, your manager has unique traits and unique ways of being handled/managed.
    • Understand the individual as a person. What are her drivers. What is her working style and likes/dislikes.
    • Understand what her key goals/KRAs/KPIs are. They will help you understand what will drive her performance through the year.
  • Make her successful
    • Align your goals/KRAs/KPIs to those of your manager, so that when you push yourself harder to succeed, you are making her succeed as well.
    • Go beyond what is expected of you. Delight the manager. This will not just help in ensuring her success but will also evidently speak volumes about your contribution to the larger agenda.
      • Be on the lookout for situations where she might need help beyond the standard scope of work
      • Proactively coach your manager or suggest a better alternative/solution if you think she needs help somewhere
      • Share / take on some of her responsibilities – but the only ones where you believe you can do a great job
    • But do remember not to
      • Go past your manager looking for opportunities to pull her down. It is like a domino effect, she falls, you fall.
      • Rub her on the wrong side. You should know when to and make sure you back off. A manager not in the right frame of mind is not the manager you want to work with!
    • Keep communicating. Keep her informed. Even if things are not at their best, do keep talking and sharing the information. Will keep her prepped for any tough situation and not in for surprises!


Consider her as a partner in your success. She can be a great mentor/coach/guide given that she would know what your strengths and areas of development are. If you have worked for her success, she will make sure that you succeed as well!

Building trust is not impossible, but it takes time. There might be instant fixes to client deliverable and day to day issues, but there is no such thing as instant trust.

So go ahead, invest and build the trust relationship with your manager – it will help you be a successful and a better professional!

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About the author

Mainak Maheshwari

Certified Coach,Change Enabler


I am passionate about supporting individuals, teams and organization be successful

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