Everything we do in life revolves around relationships -- and the happiest, most successful ones are grounded in trust.

However, the results of a 2016 Edelman Global Trust Barometer survey of more than 33,000 people around the world shows that only 27 percent of leaders were seen as upholding open and transparent traits. Another study confirms that a high percentage (85 percent) of employees are not comfortable approaching their bosses about work-related grievances.

Studies like these reaffirm why emotional intelligence is so central to the development of trustworthy relationships in the workplace. Emotionally intelligent leaders have a heightened ability to accurately evaluate emotional data (social inputs), and then direct this information to positively manage social situations and relationships.

Relationships that are forged on trust are maintained through heart-centered words and actions. Here are seven trust-affirming traits that will assure your team that you are worthy of their faith in you:

1. You do what you say you're going to do.

Nothing promotes trust more than keeping your word. Always uphold your end of the bargain. If circumstances change, as they often do, communicate these changes to your team and explain the shift in plans and how you intend to deliver on your promise.

2. You have grace under fire.

No one respects a tyrant. Your colleagues are less likely to trust you if your primary mode of communication involves raising your voice, or humiliating others. When under pressure, buy yourself some time. Take a moment to step back and take a breath before saying something you may regret.

3. You come to the rescue.

Let's say someone is publicly embarrassed at work, such as in a meeting. Try to find a way to uphold any aspect of what the person is saying, and support it. If you can't reinforce any part of it at least say, "That just prompted me to consider another idea," before offering an alternative. In other words, help the person save face.

4. You avoid gossip and cynicism.

Your character becomes tarnished when you gossip. Sarcasm is another characteristic that can engender resentment and animosity. People need to be listened to, appreciated, involved and connected. Transparent and direct communication tempered with respect, is key.

5. You set realistic targets and offer your help.

Allow enough time for a job to be done well -- the first time. Remain aware of the progress of a project and don't overload your associates with an unrealistic deadline. If the task is too challenging or time-consuming, ask how you can support them. Arrange for assistance from other team members, if necessary.

6. You let go of control when warranted.

When you let go of the need to control everything -- you open up the opportunity for your associates to take on more responsibility. Employees are still held accountable and given productive feedback when necessary, but allowing them to take the reins on occasion kick starts creativity, and galvanizes them to become more resourceful.

7. You routinely express gratitude.

We all need to hear that our work is valued. Never underestimate the power of "thank you." Remember, what you appreciate, appreciates.

Published on: Apr 12, 2016