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Building Trust with Others | Part One

Updated: 3 days ago

"Trust is earned when actions meet words." - Chris Butler


R. M. Williams said, "Trust is the easiest thing in the world to lose, and the hardest thing in the world to get back." For many organizations, trust is viewed as the foundation of its success. In companies, trust is often thought about in terms the customer experience and relationship. Customers have to believe in them and our products and services, but trust within our organization is just as important. Team members must believe in each other. When they don't, communication, teamwork, and performance inevitably suffer. Jim Dougherty, a senior lecturer at MIT, states, "Leaders will never learn the truth about a company unless they have employees' trust." It's critical for each of us to reinforce our trustworthiness constantly. This week's JOURNEY UP THE MOUNTAIN will address the truth about trust and how we can build trust in our workplace.



Most of us strive to demonstrate our strength. We want to see ourselves as strong—and want others to see us the same way. But warmth and approachability contribute significantly more to others' evaluations of us, and it's judged before competence. One of the most effective trust-building strategies is to create a personal connection. Before people decide what they think of our message, they decide what they think of us. Connecting with others takes intentionality and openness. For example, it might involve chatting with a co-worker about being from the same hometown or talking with someone about a shared hobby or interest. It is hard to trust someone we don't know, so we need to get to know the people on our team and let them get to know us.

“We must establish a personal connection with each other. Connection before content. Without relatedness, no work can occur." - Peter Block



One of the most significant barriers to building trust is not being open and honest with people. So let's think of transparency and truthfulness from two perspectives. Perspective number one is as a team leader. If we find ourselves leading a group or team, we should share as much as we can about the current health and future goals of the project. Otherwise, we may find ourselves constantly battling the rumor mill. Regularly distributing other information shows that we trust our team, which helps them have greater faith in us. Let's move on to perspective number two; we are a member of a team. The context of transparency in an organization's and a team members' communication is as simple: No secrets. It is taking actions in such a way that others can easily see them. As a team member, that means when we don't understand something, we ask for clarity. When we don't have the needed resources, we need to let our team leader know why they are required. When we don't feel valued by a team member or leader, we address it with them immediately. Transparency ensures that everyone gets on the same page. Open communication prevents misunderstandings and clears up existing ones. We must be as transparent as we expect others to be.

“Integrity, transparency, and the fight against corruption have to be part of the culture. They have to be taught as fundamental values.” - Angel Gurria



People know the difference between being given orders and being offered encouragement. We will not succeed in the long run by simply telling people what they should do. We have to learn to motivate them to do it. When people feel empowered to succeed and believe that the company's goals align with their own, they'll work harder and smarter. As a team leader, that means delegating tasks and granting as much autonomy as possible while also clarifying what the expectations are and how performance will be measured. As a team member, that means owning the assigned project, staying within the assigned parameters, and exceeding expectations. Encouraging others to be the best they can be and do the best they can do. When we show we trust others, they, in turn, are more likely to trust us. So how do we make encouragement a personal practice in our lives? Great question; here's a suggestion. Make it a practice to say something encouraging to people within the first 30 seconds of every conversation. Look for ways to elevate the other person instead of promoting ourselves.

“Those who add to us draw us to them. Those who subtract cause us to withdraw.”

- John Maxwell

By prioritizing workplace trust, we build a diverse and inclusive culture where all employees will feel a sense of belonging and be more connected to their team. Trust helps create an environment of psychological safety where team members will feel comfortable asking questions, sharing ideas, and expressing their thoughts. Trust is foundational to success, both organizationally and personally.  

No one person is responsible for the success of a company; it's a team effort. Kathy Robinson, the founder of Career Advisors Network, said, "There is a tightly woven chain of events that needs to happen in any organization in order to achieve results. People are relying on each other in a workplace." But that reliance can't exist without trust. Co-workers will go above and beyond for people they trust. That, in turn, helps produce above-and-beyond results.

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