Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about trust. Building trust with the people around you is one of the most important things you can do. Building trust raises your level of influence and leads to more productivity and closer relationships. When trust is broken, relationships shatter and it takes time to mend and rebuild that trust.
One of the greatest assets a person can have is the trust of the people around them. That only happens if you work at it and develop it and don’t do things to lose it. This is where character comes into play in leadership. It may sound simple, but to build trust you must be trustworthy.
Building Trust takes intentional work and skill, here are some things you can do to build trust at work, at home, or anywhere you have influence:
• Listen and ask questions in order to understand the other person’s interests, needs and concerns. Even repeating back what they just said.
• Make and meet commitments consistently. Do what you say you will do.
• Identify and communicate shared interests and goals. Find out what dreams and goals the other person has.
• Identify and clearly communicate differences as appropriate. Explain the why behind your decisions.
• Honestly acknowledge when you have made a mistake or hurt someone, clarify intentions, and find a suitable remedy that affirms the value of the relationship. Basically you work to resolve conflict and seek and give forgiveness.
• Use a win-win approach to resolving conflicts or conducting negotiations.
• Develop, maintain, and strengthen relationships by spending adequate time with people getting to know them better and allowing them to get to know you better. Taking a risk and being transparent with the other person opens the door to trust.
• Demonstrate honesty, keep commitments and behave in a consistent manner.
• Think about how to clearly communicate thoughts, feelings and rationale so that others understand your personal positions.
• Remain open to others’ ideas and opinions even when they conflict with your own.
Openness and honesty always lend substance and credibility to our character, which leads to greater trust. When trust is present, the relationship is closer and healthier.
It’s important to note that building trust also means telling people the truth even if it hurts. It takes courage to speak the truth to people you care about. That initial hurt often leads to healing and a healthier relationship. Telling someone the truth can also help them grow and avoid making mistakes.
If you need to work at building trust, you must first lay all the cards on the table and admit your past mistakes. Then you need to start the hard work or rebuilding by doing the things mentioned above. Building trust takes time and energy while losing trust can happen instantly. Everything we say and do is either building trust or losing trust.