Trust is a popular and much discussed concept, used often in conversations about leadership, human interactions and relationships. It seems to have numerous definitions and meanings.
Trust is the belief that someone or something is reliable, good and honest. It is the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. To trust someone or something is to place confidence in that person or thing.
Bottom line, trust is the cornerstone of personal and professional relationships. It is that which great leaders are made of and great partnerships bloom from.
Without trust we cannot accomplish that which we strive for as a team or as individuals.
Often people ask me, why does my manager not trust me? Employees who feel micromanaged, second guessed and lack empowerment feel frustrated and unfulfilled. Most of the time, they are fully aware that it is a trust issue between them and their manager. Although we may know the why, we still get stuck in how to move past it and don’t know how to prove we are trustworthy.
My usual response is, what have you done to earn their trust? How have you proven to them that you can be trusted? I realize most people don’t contemplate the process behind the building of trust. Most people view trust as something that builds up naturally and overtime. They don’t realize that like many things trust is something that has to be worked at and invested in.
Yet it’s a complicated process; to be trusted you must earn it. To earn trust though, someone else must take a chance in order for you to show them that you can be trusted.
So what makes a person trust another? We know that trust comes down to the following core pillars; the perception of intention, integrity, competence/ability and visible results.
There are certain behaviors that can help earn trust, and prove that we deserve to be empowered. Obviously building trust will vary based on each individual person and their personal values and background. Still these behaviors are a good place to start….
- Stick to your commitments: Do what you say you will do. Actions speak louder than words so there will come a point when you must stop talking and start doing.
- Show accountability: Admit when you are wrong or when you made a mistake, and show humility when you are right.
- Communicate: Be impeccable with the words you use and how you use them, make eye contact, be positive, open and transparent in the sharing of information.
- Be authentic and accommodating: Use words of respect and gratitude. Be kind and polite and be willing to go out of your way, don’t hesitate to go above and beyond. Ask how they are doing and listen, genuinely pay attention to the other person when they are talking to you, and just as important- know when to stop talking.
- Demonstrate your abilities: Share ideas, content and opinions, ask for their advice, show that you remember or have retained that which was said to you by the other party. Illustrate your knowledge and show you are open-minded to others viewpoints and take seriously the others expertise.
- Lastly, be consistent with all these, and be patient. Take it slow, trust grows at a difference pace in each relationship.
Trust takes time to earn and small actions over time, not just words, will speak volumes. In time, you will be able to demonstrate that you can take ownership and be empowered to drive forward goals, initiatives and deliverables. Feeling empowered is a big part of feeling fulfilled at work. We all want to make an impact, be a part of making a difference. It builds our confidence and skills, it strengthens our relationships…when trust is placed in us. So don’t underestimate its importance, put the time into building, growing and protecting this precious thing called trust and watch your relationships bloom over time!