In our last post, we discussed credibility as being the first step in our five-step model for building your influencing skills. This edition focuses on step number 2, trust.
As we know from relationships, trust is among the highest forms of human motivation. The challenge with trust is that it is far more easily destroyed than it is built. You need to consciously earn people’s trust and once you do, don’t take it for granted. It must be continuously re-earned in your daily interactions with others.
We all have examples in our lives of people or even companies who have done something that calls our trust for them into question. Bring to mind an example from your own experience and ask yourself two questions:
- How has that erosion of trust impacted my relationship with that individual or my perception of that company?
- What would it take for them to earn my trust again?
Stephen M.R. Covey states that “Trust is a function of two things: character and competence. Character includes your integrity, your motive, and your intent with people. Competence includes your capabilities, your skills, and your track record. Both are vital.” Being competent earns you a degree of trust but it’s your character that accounts for the larger percentage of why people will trust you.
BUILDING TRUST INVOLVES MANY THINGS BUT HERE ARE FOUR KEY ELEMENTS:
Treating everyone by the same set of honourable principles. People value fairness, both for themselves and for those around them. If you are not treating everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve, the trust others place in you will be diminished.
Doing what you say you are going to do. You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “under promise and over deliver”. This is a great motto to live by. When people know that they can count on you to deliver on your promises, your trust with others increases.
Talking and acting consistently over time. Consistency in how you act and react is vital to building trust. When people don’t know what to expect from you, they will be less willing to place trust in you for fear of how you may react.
Being loyal to those not immediately present. When someone talks in a negative way about a person that is not in the room, consider what goes through your mind. Perhaps you are wondering if that person also speaks poorly of you when you aren’t there.
BEFORE WE GET INTO STRATEGIES TO BUILD TRUST WITH OTHERS, TAKE A MINUTE AND RATE YOURSELF ON A SCALE OF 1 – 5 FOR EACH OF THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS:
Work colleagues see me as equitable and fair. I don’t treat some colleagues better than others.
I deliver on my commitments and promises. If I can’t meet a commitment, I immediately get in communication to reset expectations.
Work colleagues know what to expect from me. I act consistently at all times and with all people.
I do not talk behind the backs of others and am known to be discreet. Work colleagues can talk to me about personal or professional concerns and know that I’ll keep things between us.
If you scored between 12 and 16, congratulations! You are within the normal range.
If you scored above 16, you are either a saint or you perhaps aren’t being completely honest with yourself!
If you scored below 12, you may want to give some consideration to this and look for opportunities to enhance trust in your relationships.
HERE ARE FIVE STRATEGIES YOU CAN USE TO BUILD TRUST:
Always be truthful – no matter how uncomfortable the truth may be. This does not mean always being brutally honest at the risk of hurting other people. It simply means that in your day-to-day interactions, you are truthful in what you say.
Always be kind and considerate of others. Stephen R. Covey talks about the emotional bank account as a measure of the amount of trust that has been built up between two people. We make emotional deposits into that account which builds trust with the other person. This positive balance builds tolerance for the occasional withdrawals we may make.
Keep all commitments, no matter how small. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t the opportunity to renegotiate commitments but missing deadlines and deliverables can lead to significant erosion of trust.
Take accountability for your actions. You should have the humility to stand up and admit when you’ve done something wrong, and the willingness to apologize when necessary.
Ask meaningful questions. Genuinely seeking input from others and showing that you value their perspective is an excellent way to build commitment and trust.
Stay tuned for the next four blog posts when we’ll explore the remaining three elements of our influencing model.