Alice Dendinger of Austin didn’t know how important trust is when she began working in human resources 25 years ago, but she says she quickly learned.

“When I first started out, no one told me someone might not trust me,” Dendinger, president of the Texas State Council Society for Human Resource Management and head of the Alice Dendinger Alliance Group. “How many of you have ever worked for a boss who could have all great initiatives in the world, but they were always suspect because of trust?”

Dendinger, in remarks to members of the Brownwood chapter of the Mid Tex Human Resource Management Association Thursday, said trust is the foundation for all successful team efforts in business.

“People don’t openly communicate with people they don’t trust,” Dendinger said. “Increased trust provides a sense of belonging and connection, and that’s very important. You need to ask yourself, ‘Am I behaving in a manner that’s worthy of trust?’”

She took the lunch audience through two exercises that asked them to identify traits to determine whether workers find them trustworthy, and to prioritize the individual personal values that help “brand” themselves.

“Yes, it is all about you,” Dendinger said. “Do you walk the talk of your values? If so, you will build trust.”

Even so, events happen daily that tend to break trust, even unwittingly.

“Act with consistency,” Dendinger said. “It’s been found that the organizations with the most conflict are those led by a boss who’s inconsistent. Have you ever worked for someone who you had to ask whether he’s had his morning coffee yet before you dared talk?”

Other behaviors that build trust include meaning what you say, being involved, sharing information willingly, showing a willingness to be vulnerable and admitting mistakes, doing more than what’s required, being able to ask for help, being able to take the risk of trusting others, acknowledging someone else’s skills, taking risks before asking others to do so and believing that other employees have your best interests in mind.

“If you can’t keep a promise, admit it,” Dendinger said. “Make the first move. If you don’t make the first move, nothing will happen. Use the ‘s’ word — ‘I’m sorry, I apologize.’ But sometimes that’s not enough… Ask how you can make it right with them, and recommit to appropriate future behavior.”

Technology has afforded workers with one of the biggest trust-breakers ever, Dendinger said — blind copying someone’s boss or a higher supervisor on an issue discussed through e-mail.

The Brownwood chapter meets monthly on the second Thursday of each month. Luncheons typically include a meal, organizational business and a speaker. Information about membership, which is open to students and others interested in human resource management, is available from Vice President Diane Mosley at (325) 200-6015.