7 ways to build trust and increase collaboration at work

Frankie Kemp

6 June 2022

Oh cripes.

It’s Jasmina again. (No, not you. You know better.  It’s another one).

She’s walking towards you with a big grin.”Nice blouse,” she says.

Your wearing overalls. Anyway, you let Jasmina do her thing.

“Could you do something for me?”

Here it comes. Some whackingly large time consuming favour…

And then she drops a request on you that feels like a piece of scaffolding.

That’s what Jasmina does: complimenting others only when she wants something.

Don’t be Jasmina.  It’ll have others running for the hills as soon as they see you coming.

What praise and compliments are NOT

There IS value in making others feel good, though.

However, this isn’t about:

  • buttering someone up the moment you need something
  • or being an ass-licking sycophant

In his seminal book, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, Dale Carnegie advises the reader to ‘find a sincere way to make others feel important’.

Making others feel ‘important’ may not be what you’re after.  Making them feel appreciated or valued might be more preferable.


Why appreciation is so valuable to express

Showing a genuine mutual appreciation makes work easier and more enjoyable.

But even if you do appreciate your colleagues or managers, don’t assume they realise.

Making it explicit will help build that all-important trust with people, having them work with you, not against you.

And that trust is the glue of relationships: if there’s no trust, there’s no relationship. ?

You can disagree with colleagues without fear of alienation if you know the bottom line is…


Ultimately, you’ll not be spending so much energy pushing to make things happen.  Instead, people will want to go along with you.


Here are 7 ways to sincerely make people feel important and appreciated:

1. Say their name. The fact that you’ve even remembered it doesn’t go unnoticed. Let’s flip it, though. Have you ever been on a virtual call and the host has welcomed in everyone by name – but you?  It’s as if you don’t matter.  But when your name is used, it gets personal.  Here are four times using names will be very effective in building bonds.

2. Use techniques to actively listen. How? Hostage negotiators like Chris Voss use these techniques with kidnappers to understand what ‘s really driving their actions. Skills that may seem ‘soft’ but produce real outcomes such as live hostages. Such techniques include: paraphrasing, mirroring back and showing empathy for someone’s needs.

3. Compliment.  Don’t be that person who does it only when they need something.  Here’s some guidance on that.

4. Ask for a recommendation.  You know they’re knowledgeable about something you want to gem up on. It shows you value their opinions.

5. Ask for their advice. Again, as for recommendations, it shows an appreciation for another person’s knowledge.  A 2015 research paper, published in Management Science, looked into the effects of asking advice.  One of the benefits of seeking advice from others is that social bonds are strengthened by making the advisor feel affirmed.  The most surprising result of their research is that the seeker of the advice actually appears MORE, not less competent.

6. Give praise. This needs to be sincere and not given when you want something.  Also, it’s safer to do this privately as others could see this as favouritism and when you do praise, be specific about what you’re affirming.  For example, this could be the creative way a problem was solved or the way a client was treated with calm and patience.  The praise then comes over as more genuine, enabling the receiver to repeat behaviour and do more of what’s wanted.

7. Have reciprocal exchanges. In his book, ‘Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion’, Robert Cialdini cites in-depth research on the value of reciprocity and it’s vital role in building bonds.  The act of giving, and the giving of something relevant and important to another person, shows that you have regard for what the recipient values.


Like a boomerang, making others feel good bounces back to you too: you’ll feel better for spreading a bit of light.

Your Action:

1. Which TWO behaviours could you be doing more of?

2. Once you’ve determined these, use them more in conversation either socially or professionally, when the moment arises for you to do this sincerely.  For example, you notice some small positive shift in someone’s behaviour and you state your appreciation.

3. Watch the effect and note if your interactions with that person also shift.

4. Do more of what’s working or / and choose another behaviour to draw upon with someone else.


Anything you’d add to the list of 7?  Do you have any specific queries about how to use these behaviours? Write it in the comments below:





Want to boost your Influence Skills but not sure where to start?  I’ve got a range of options for different budgets and durations: from one to one self-paced online courses, live coaching and team training.  Find a style that suits you:  arrange your 15 minute Discovery Call right here.


Photo by Katarzyna Modrzejewska: https://www.pexels.com/photo/beige-cat-with-gold-colored-crown-1314550/

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