“The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him.”– Henry Stimson-
You’ve heard of the old adage: “We do business with people we know, like and trust.” I would add that we elect our officials and hire our staff for the same reason. The good news is this: you got your position because you were trusted. The challenging news is that you have to maintain the trust once you are in the position. What can you do to increase your own trust and the trust of the organization?
There are two questions you should ask:
- Do I trust?
- Do others trust me?
Any worthwhile relationship is built on a solid foundation of trust. But too often there is a belief that you have to see trust in others before you can start trusting them. Years of research and study show that the opposite is true. We have to first trust and then we are trusted.
I remember a friend who used “They already don’t trust me so I may as well do what I want” as an excuse to get into trouble. I had the opposite experience where many a weekend of debauchery was ruined because of my Father’s voice telling me he trusted me to do the right thing. He modeled the rule “First you trust”.
Trust is a willingness to be open to the other person or situation based on your belief that something positive will come out of it. You may not agree with the way someone else views a situation, but if you look for the common value and goal, you’ll see that they are doing what they believe is right. Distrust occurs when their goal conflicts or gets in the way of your goal.
Trust is a big deal. When people aren’t working optimally together, it usually stems from a lack of trust. If you want to build trust, follow these 5 simple lessons.
Showing up is an essential part of commitment. It means diving off the board into the water and fully committing to the task at hand. It involves following through and doing what you say you will do. Keep your commitments no matter how small or large. When you can’t keep a commitment, you have to communicate and ask to be released from it.
People will trust and support you if they know you truly care about them. Get to know the people you represent.
People can accept indifference more than a person who cares one day and is indifferent the next – because they know what to expect. Are you congruent? Everyone has off days so, if you do fly off the handle, circle back and take ownership of the inconsistency. Decide what your values are and use them to make decisions. It will help to guide you and keep you constant.
People will question your competence if they don’t see it in action. Unlike the politician who bases his platform on being open and approachable and won’t listen or attend meetings, make sure you are congruent. Don’t be satisfied with mediocre. Be the best you can be. Keep your skills fresh by being a lifelong learner and listener.
The previous four competencies are based on a solid foundation of communication. When you are having a conversation with someone, do they have your full attention? Are you making eye contact? Are you allowing the frustrations of the day to affect the tone of your voice? If someone wants to discuss something important, put down your mobile device and give them your full attention.
You can use this same framework to evaluate the trust of another person. That feeling you have of distrust can usually be tied into one of the 5 C’s as well as the Blue Whale of the trust rules… DWYSYWD.
Do What You Say You Will Do.
This is sometimes much harder than any of the other aspects of trust since promises can be made without understanding barriers that stand in the way. When that happens you have to circle back and communicate, communicate, communicate!
People will choose to respect and follow leaders that are able to instill trust, admiration and respect because of positive behaviors and actions. The small things you do to build trust become the big things on which you are evaluated.
Trust can be learned and improved. Start now.