15 Behaviors to Build Strong, Trusting Relationships

March 25 2024
By: Shawn M. Galloway

Have you ever worked for someone that you didn't trust? How much discretionary effort did you put into the job? Have you ever been in a personal relationship with someone you didn't trust? How long did it last?

Relationships are the cornerstone of human interaction, shaping our experiences and influencing our success in various aspects of life. Cultivating strong and trusting relationships is vital for personal growth and overall well-being, whether in the workplace, our communities, or our families. Let's explore the 15 key behaviors that can help individuals foster positive connections with others. From open and honest communication to maintaining confidentiality and building trust over time, these behaviors are crucial in establishing lasting and meaningful relationships.

  1. Honest Communication: One of the foundational pillars of strong relationships is open and honest communication. By fostering transparent and clear communication, individuals can establish a sense of trust and understanding with others. Openly sharing goals, expectations, and challenges creates a collaborative environment where all parties feel heard and valued.

  2. Reliability and Consistency: Consistently delivering on commitments and promises is key to building trust and reliability. By establishing a reputation for dependability, individuals can instill confidence in others and create a solid foundation for lasting relationships.

  3. Mutual Respect: Treating others with respect, regardless of their position or background, is crucial in building trusting relationships. Valuing diverse opinions and contributions fosters a culture of inclusivity and collaboration, strengthening bonds between individuals.

  4. Accountability: Taking responsibility for one's actions and decisions is a sign of integrity and trustworthiness. By holding oneself accountable and addressing mistakes transparently, individuals can show their commitment to building and maintaining strong relationships.

  5. Be Supportive: Offering support during professional or personal challenges shows genuine care and concern for others' well-being. Individuals can build trust and loyalty in their relationships by being a source of encouragement and assistance.

  6. Appreciation: Acknowledging and appreciating the contributions of others is essential for building a positive and motivating environment. Celebrating achievements and milestones helps reinforce a culture of recognition and gratitude, fostering strong and lasting relationships.

  7. Cultural Competence: Awareness of and respecting cultural differences is essential to building inclusive and diverse relationships. Adapting communication and approaches to align with diverse backgrounds helps individuals bridge cultural gaps and foster understanding and acceptance.

  8. Build Trust Over Time: Understanding that trust is built gradually is key to nurturing lasting and meaningful relationships. Consistently demonstrating trustworthiness through actions and behaviors helps solidify the bond between individuals, creating a foundation of mutual respect and understanding.

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  10. Active Listening: Actively listening to others is a powerful way to demonstrate respect and empathy. By showing a genuine interest in what others have to say, individuals can validate their concerns and perspectives, fostering a deeper connection based on mutual understanding and appreciation.

  11. Empathy: Understanding and considering the emotions and perspectives of others is essential in building strong relationships. Showing empathy in professional and personal interactions helps create a supportive and nurturing environment where individuals feel understood and valued.

  12. Shared Values: Identifying and emphasizing common values and goals helps align individuals' interests and create a sense of unity. Individuals can forge a strong connection based on shared beliefs and principles by building personal and organizational values that resonate with others.

  13. Build Connections: Investing time in getting to know people on a personal level is essential for building genuine connections. Understanding their interests, challenges, and aspirations helps create a sense of empathy and camaraderie, strengthening the bond between individuals.

  14. Collaborate: Working together to solve challenges and problems promotes a spirit of teamwork and collaboration. Encouraging diverse perspectives and approaches in problem-solving fosters innovation and strengthens relationships through shared accomplishments.

  15. Regular Feedback: Providing regular and constructive feedback is crucial for growth and improvement. Creating an environment where feedback is seen as a tool for learning and development helps individuals build stronger relationships based on trust and mutual respect.

  16. Confidentiality: Respecting the confidentiality of sensitive information is crucial for building trust and credibility. By demonstrating a commitment to handling confidential matters with discretion and integrity, individuals can build a reputation for trustworthiness and reliability.

These 15 behaviors serve as a roadmap for individuals looking to build strong, trusting relationships. From open and honest communication to maintaining confidentiality and building trust over time, these behaviors are essential in fostering meaningful connections with others. By embodying these behaviors in your interactions, you can create a positive and supportive environment where trust, respect, and empathy flourish, leading to fulfilling and lasting relationships.

"We've got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can't just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it's going to get on by itself. You've got to keep watering it. You've got to really look after it and nurture it." — John Lennon

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours." — Wayne Dyer

"We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers instead of critics." — Joyce Meyer

Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.

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