It’s not only an advantage to have the trust of those you would lead, it is essential. But trust doesn’t happen by itself. Trust is built over time and that time frame can be shortened if you take specific, intentional actions to build it.
I’m about to write about actions you’re already aware of. But awareness is not enough. Most people simply do not invest the time to intentionally build trust. They hope it will happen over time. It might. But hope alone isn’t a good strategy for anything. So while you refresh your memory with these suggestions ask yourself if you’re DOING these things or if they sit comfortably in the back of your mind.
First up is this…honor your commitments. I believe that when people commit to do something they intend to do it. The problem for most people, myself included, is that they hate to say no. So they say yes to more than they can do. That causes you to either not honor the commitment or to honor it in such a way that it’s almost as bad as not doing it at all. If your goal is to build trust then promise less and do more.
It is not an overstatement to say miscommunication has started wars. World War I began in part with a failure to communicate. Effective communication is critical to building trust. Never assume, if you’re not certain what was said or what was meant then ask.
Some communication will de difficult. No one, well almost no one, likes dealing with conflicts. But the most trustworthy people won’t dodge a conflict and the challenging communication that often results. They have the conversation that needs to happen and they have it in a caring compassionate way. They choose their words carefully and when they have to choose between telling the truth and offending someone they choose the truth.
Another way to build trust is to be helpful. Extend kindness to everyone you meet. The concept of “helpful kindness” means that you’ll be helpful to others with no expectation of receiving anything in return.
Some people may question the motives for your kindness but in time they will come to see that you’re doing what you’re doing only because it’s the right thing to do.
Lastly, always do the right thing. If you’re not certain what the right thing to do is then ask someone who you trust. But I’m willing to bet you know the right thing to do. You almost certainly know what’s wrong to do so not doing that increases the odds of doing the right thing immeasurably.
Even if what you do turns out to be the wrong thing when people know that your actions were guided by your values you’ll trusted more than someone who only acts in their own self interests.
You knew about all these trust building actions before you read this post. Now that you’ve been reminded of them the next step is to use them. If you want to build trust you will. If you choose not to use them then one can only assume that you don’t place much value on being trustworthy.
So what’s it going to be?
3 thoughts on “Earning Trust – Part Two”
Steve…..here is a thought. As a leader I have learned to relish and embrace “conflict.” I am referring to a diverse idea or a diverse attitude or a diverse action contrary to and in conflict with the status quo. I am not referring to yelling and screaming and taking hurtful action against those we are in conflict with.
To my experience all individual progress (growth)…..all team progress (growth)…….all organizational progress (growth) flows from an initial challenge made by a leader to courageously (and it takes courage!) question the status quo of things. And of course that will be met by a mound of resistance by those who have invested heavily in the status quo……even though “the conflicting growth result” benefits many.
When we avoid conflict we commit to thinking the same way…..to feeling the same way……to acting the same way and what an exciting world that is….eh?
I absolutely agree. It does take courage to challenge what “is” but it’s the only way to get to the “should be.” The type of conflict I think you’re referring to is what I call “Constructive Discontent.” I can’t really think of a single time when everyone was happy with a proposed change but I can think of many times everyone was happy when the change was in place and was indeed an improvement. Great comment Joe, thanks for sharing your thoughts!