Building Trust

Many people in the work force must adhere to a very basic concept. Never fail to protect your reputation. Build trust from day one and adhere to it every minute of every day. How many bad experiences does it take to destroy trust? Here are some thoughts to help you–and mistakes to avoid.

Share information candidly and completely

People who put their cards on the table and tell you what they know and what they want usually earn a reputation as someone who is trusted in the organization. If you are not straightforward and honest about what you know and what you think, it usually looks like you are concealing something. Even when you can’t share some piece of information, you can always explain why you can’t and when you will reveal it, if ever. People will accept that far more positively than silence or an evasive reply.

Be open to the ideas of others

There are those who think they are open-minded but in actuality are extremely closed-minded when someone else’s idea conflicts with their own views and values. Not only do you have to solicit the ideas of others and draw them out, you have to stand back objectively and look at them, especially if their views differ from your own.

Stand up for what you believe in

If you stand up for what you think is right and you deliver your stance with respect and tact, you will build influence and trust in the organization. As many senior executives will tell you, they can count on one hand the number of people they can count on to stand up and honestly tell them what they think of an idea.

Follow through on commitments

If you ask someone which trait comes to mind when they think of building trust, they will probably say, “be dependable.” Yet, many people are not responsive when it comes to voice mails, e-mails and employee and colleagues’ requests. “I’m too busy,” becomes their mantra–and their excuse. If you have trouble keeping up, find a system or a person to help you. What’s worse, if you agree to do an action item, you must deliver or make other arrangements with the person to whom you promised. In the modern organization, just like in the days of the old West, “My word is my promise,” better be your code of honor.

Back it up with facts

Building trust is not just about your interpersonal reputation, it’s about how you make decisions about the work itself. You will be trusted–and given more freedom and responsibility–if you can be relied upon to do your homework. While intuition is a great asset, it shouldn’t be the only tool in your kit. When you state a fact or a position, you will earn trust if you can back it up with data.

Provide feedback to others, directly

It can be very difficult to speak face-to-face with someone about a conflict, but in the end, you typically win respect and trust because you had the courage to be direct. While we all get caught up in the “rumor mill”, it plays out better in the end when we approach others with honesty and integrity.

Admit to mistakes and have a plan to fix them

Admitting vulnerability can be a good thing. We are all human and admitting to a mistake will have a better outcome than trying to hide it or defend it. If you are caught trying to cover up a mistake, you may never regain trust.

Solicit feedback and act on it

Only strong, confident people have the fortitude to solicit constructive feedback.  If you develop a reputation for accepting feedback for personal improvement, your credibility will grow, especially if you are a manager. But if you ask for feedback and then don’t act—or, even worse, retaliate–people will never trust you with their opinions again.

Preserve confidentiality

If someone comes to you and asks you to keep something quiet, you must either oblige them or tell them why it’s illegal or impossible. Your career is your responsibility. Create your own job security by acting more like an entrepreneur at work. Learn how to “sell” your skills to your organization, add more value on the job, develop your internal advocates.

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Source: Murray Resources Resources Web. 08 May 2012.