A certain amount of scepticism is no bad thing, healthy even. But when this tips over into cynicism or outright distrust then relationships, the workplace and society overall suffer.

What we have witnessed in recent times is a breakdown in trust among great swathes of the population for key authority figures like politicians (most egregiously), the police (running them a close second) and business leaders, mindful of salary gaps, disputes arising from airline cancellations and, of course, the extraordinary behaviour of P&O Ferries.

In addition, the 2022 Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism suggests that the agenda of news organisations is often questioned. Under 35s represent the lowest-trusting age group, with only 37% of both 18–24s and 25–34s saying they trust most news most of the time, compared with 47% of those 55 and older.

COVID and Brexit have not brought the best out of everyone but even in these exceptional circumstances, faith in the system is at a low ebb.

Given that trust is the solid foundation that supports life and work, here are a few tips, from my work as a business relationship consultant, for gaining and maintaining it:

  • Never sacrifice your integrity – be honest, sincere, consistent, and true to yourself
  • Do what you say you’ll do – being reliable is a long way towards being trusted
  • Then do more – always seek to exceed expectations
  • Be clear – about what you have done/can do and especially haven’t done/can’t do
  • Be present – don’t let the rhythm of the work dictate the rhythm of a relationship
  • Spend time in other people’s shoes – what makes them tick personally and professionally
  • Listen – use your ears (two) in proportion to your mouth (one)
  • Tackle issues early – unlike fine wine, they do not improve with age
  • Be human – impress with both your IQ and your EQ (emotional intelligence)
  • Give trust to receive trust – don’t be naïve but assume good intentions

Who knows if the next Prime Minister will succeed in earning our trust? We can only manage the manageable after all. So, let’s ensure that we can be trusted at least. It’s what we all want. And it’ll makes the world a better place.