Four Steps to Build Trust

skyeteam leadership development
Trust is something that is earned, though it need not take an extensive time commitment to earn it, just think about the last time you stepped on a plane, you gave implicit trust that the pilot knew how to do their job and that only took a moment.  At work we are perceived by others as someone who can be trusted based on our words and actions.

WE first not ME first – Seek out opportunities to get to know the people around you as people, not just at the transactional level of “can you do this for me…?” Spend time informally as well as formally building a relationship with your team, trust is built through the interpersonal interactions, not through email. Seek out opportunities to collaborate and focus on mutual success (the we first) rather than individual success (me first).

Consistent Communication –  Asking questions, sharing information, providing feedback are the hallmarks for a relationship built on trust.  Consistent communication includes sharing the rationale behind business decisions, not getting sucked into gossip and speculation, being candid when you can’t share confidential information. Paying attention to how you communicate, avoiding “I” in spoken and written communication where possible and instead use “we”. Think “team”.

Generosity and Abundance – In my book I talk about the concepts of Generosity and Abundance, one of the four elements of an Ally. The most successful people are the ones who share their network and expertise, they give more than they take and are focused on achieving their success by making others successful.  Make introductions, share your wisdom and build a reputation for being the go-to person. I recall in my first managerial role meeting with my new team and sharing “My No. 1 job is to ensure your success.” It had an immediate and positive impact on the level of trust not just with myself, but across the team.

Align Expectations – one of the most powerful things you can do to build trust is to align expectations and discuss how you will work together not just what results need to be delivered.  Ensure the implicit is explicit and the rules of engagement are clear. It is then easier to build from this foundation of trust, and to course correct as needed, especially in times of stress and uncertainty when trust can be challenged.  I recommend taking a relationship “pulse check” at regular intervals, three simple questions that have a powerful impact in building trust if you both listen to the replies and follow through with the necessary action:

  • What is working well?
  • What is not working well?
  • What is one thing I can do to help ensure your / our success?

A final thought, as you seek to build trust, to help others to trust you, have you considered the alternative? That building trust isn’t about the other person. Building trust starts with you. Are you willing to give trust?