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Get to know 5 Conversations – Conversation 1 – Establishing a trusting relationship

5 Conversations: Conversation 1 – Establishing a trusting relationship

In any workplace, establishing a trusting working relationship is essential for the success of the organisation and the well-being of its employees. When trust exists, employees inevitably feel comfortable working together, collaborating, and sharing ideas. It fosters a positive work environment and encourages open communication. However, building trust is not always easy and requires consistent effort and attention.

Here are some strategies to help establish a trusting working relationship:

Open and honest communication:

One of the most critical components of building trust is open and honest communication. This means encouraging employees to speak up about their thoughts and feelings without fear of retaliation or judgment. Leaders should create an environment where employees feel safe to share their concerns, ask for help, and provide feedback. Leaders should set an example of open communication by actively listening to their employees and responding with transparency and honesty. This type of communication is not only critical for building trust but is also essential for resolving conflicts and fostering collaboration.


Consistency is key when it comes to building trust. Employees need to see that their leaders are reliable and consistent in their actions and words. This means following through on promises and commitments, being consistent in communication and decision-making, and treating all employees fairly and equally. When leaders are consistent, employees are more likely to feel secure in their work environment, and they will trust that their leaders will act with integrity and make decisions that are in the best interest of the organisation.


Accountability is crucial for establishing trust in the workplace. When employees know that their leaders are accountable for their actions, they are more likely to trust them. This means taking responsibility for mistakes, owning up to failures, and being transparent about the decisions they make. Leaders should hold themselves and their team members accountable for their actions, and they should be willing to admit when they are wrong. This level of honesty and transparency builds trust and encourages others to take responsibility for their actions as well.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Leaders who demonstrate empathy are more likely to build trust with their employees. When leaders show that they care about their employees’ feelings, they create a sense of belonging and a positive work environment. Empathy requires active listening, recognising and acknowledging the emotions of others, and responding with compassion and understanding. When employees feel heard and valued, they are more likely to trust their leaders and feel motivated to do their best work.


Respect is a fundamental aspect of building trust in the workplace. Leaders who show respect for their employees’ ideas, opinions, and perspectives are more likely to earn their trust. This means treating all employees with dignity and fairness, regardless of their job title, background, or level of experience.

Respectful leaders value their employees and show appreciation for their contributions to the organisation. They provide opportunities for growth and development and encourage their employees to reach their full potential. When employees feel respected, they are more likely to trust their leaders and feel invested in the success of the organisation.

In conclusion, establishing a trusting working relationship is essential for the success of any workplace. It requires open and honest communication, consistency, accountability, empathy, and respect. Leaders who prioritise these elements will foster a positive work environment that encourages collaboration, innovation, and growth. Trust is not something that can be achieved overnight, but with consistent effort and attention, it can be established and maintained over time. By prioritising trust in the workplace, leaders can create a thriving organisation that benefits everyone involved.

Get to know 5 Conversations – Conversation 1 – Establishing a trusting relationship

This conversation matters because as a leader, having trusting relationships with people who work for you, or with you is at the heart of getting things done. When trust exists in a relationship, we are open to ideas, possibilities and collaborations. We will share the conscious steps you can take to establish (or evolve) a deeper and more trusting relationship with key members of your team, and other key colleagues and stakeholders.

Watch on-demand now:

Our popular 5 Conversations programme draws on over 35 years of insight and experience to look at how authentic two-way human conversations build relationships, trust and engagement at work.

Engaged employees are more productive, drive innovation forwards and are more loyal to your organisation making 5 Conversations a key tool to drive business performance.

We have recently updated the 5 Conversations programme and book to include:

  • Customer success stories
  • Impact of psychological safety
  • Link to emotional intelligence
  • Latest neuroscience research and engagement data
  • How to use 5 Conversations with customers

The book can be used, whether or not you have attended a 5 Conversations workshop, to try out 5 Conversations for yourself. It looks at why each conversation is important, how to invite people to have a conversation, examples of what to say and a structure for the interaction. Have an exclusive read of the first two chapters of the book on us for a taster of what you can look forward to.