Create instant trust with your new boss

We all have new Bosses come into our work lives. Because of this I’d like to share one tip I found to really build a solid and trusted work relationship with a new Boss who joined our business.

Use the power of one simple regular email to your boss.

I say e-mail as I believe your new Boss will probably be very busy understanding the new roles and responsibilities and getting up to speed in your business.  While a meeting would be great, an email is a more efficient way to keep in touch for a time starved Boss.

Every week send one simple email to your boss that’ll make your life better. Take just a few minutes on a Friday and jot down a simple description of what you accomplished that week and what you hope to do next week. Your boss will be able to recognize the progress you’re making and appreciate not being left in the dark having to wonder whether you’re doing your job.

Why do I suggest this? Well, it does have a sound basis in the theory of how trust is built. R C Mayer in 1995(1) suggested that trust is made up of four critical parts (see diagram below)

Mayer trust model

Trust is composed of a rational (or cognitive) basis and an emotional (or affective) basis. And the first step of building rational trust is ability- that you have the capability to do what is asked. By sending an e-mail with your activities you are reinforcing that you are capable.  If this email consistently arrives on a certain day, you are becoming predictable, and that really supports trust. So we are establishing a strong base for your bosses rational trust of you.  Of course, you Boss has to be the trusting kind, and to have a propensity to trust, but i think that should be taken for granted.

To add even more value, consider what behaviour style your boss is and tailor your mail to his preferences.  If your new Boss has a preference for D-style, then make sure your email is task focused, detailing what you’ve done to achieve his/her goals and what you plan to do next. For an I-style, detail work done and explore some new ideas. For an S-style preference, remember the importance of relationships and how you have built these around the office and with business partners. For a C-style, process and detail is good in achieving your tasks.


Once you have clearly established a rational basis for being trusted, simply do what you have promised (reinforcing integrity) and do the thing for the right reason (benefit of the team, benefit of the customer, not just benefit of yourself), and in a polite and courteous way-  displaying benevolence.

Try it, and you’ll see how effective it is at getting yourself quickly trusted by your Boss.

(1) Mayer, R. C., Davis, J. H., & Schoorman, F. D. 1995. An integrative model of organizational trust. Academy of Management Review, 20: 709 –734

see also an updated version