Today’s professionals are looking for more than emails and text messages from the people they work with. They want colleagues, clients, and vendors they can connect with who are “authentic” and “real.” Today’s professionals want to be able to trust the people they work with – at every level.
While many business skills can be learned, trust is something that truly must be earned. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy. In fact, it’s easier to mistrust someone, especially if you don’t know them well. With all the scams and hacks today, people are (rightfully) becoming more weary, making it more challenging to win over a customer or colleague. But, it’s also one of the most important goals for a successful business, because the more people trust you, the easier it is to grow your network and your company.
Regardless of your position in the company or the number of people you work with, having a reputation as someone who is trustworthy provides immeasurable benefits including Increased sales; more collaborative co-workers; increased respect from co-workers, leadership, direct reports.
While building trust is a multi-faceted process that is different for every interaction, losing trust is pretty simple. With that in mind, here are some actions that you should avoid if you want to build people’s trust in you:
- Talking negatively about others. Most of the time, (probably 99.999%) if someone speaks negatively about other people to you, they are likely speaking negatively about you to them. Nothing will break down trust more than worrying about your “friend” cutting you down in front of someone else. Whether you simply mention you “can’t believe she would wear THAT,” or you share something confidential, speaking poorly of others will cause people to lose respect for you. And, when respect is gone, trust goes with it.
- Inconsistency. “Do what you say, say what you’ll do.” It’s hard to believe in someone whose ideals and values change with the wind. If you say you’re going to be there, do so. If you promise to have an “open-door policy,” make sure it’s open to everyone. People like to know they can count on your consistency in whatever area you provide it. When you frequently waiver, they lose confidence in you.
- Lying. I don’t think I need to say too much about this, do I? While there may be times in which telling the truth is difficult, lying is a killer of any relationship. If you lie and get caught, you may be able to save the relationship if you fess up, apologize, and take a positive action to show you regret your mistake.
- Being Disrespectful. Think about this for a minute – how do you feel if someone is disrespectful of your time, talent, contribution, or opinion? If they repeatedly criticize or discredit you, over time you will probably lose confidence in them. Disrespect alienates people, and that’s no way to build a good reputation and trust.
When you dig into the components of trust, it’s easy to recognize that it’s about confidence, reliance, protection, and commitment. In business and all interpersonal relationships, developing your trustworthiness is as important as developing your business skills.
When team members don’t trust their managers and leaders, they aren’t likely to be as engaged and they are more likely to leave the company. When trust is lacking between colleagues it can create an atmosphere of negativity which eventually breaks down productivity. When your boss doesn’t trust you, don’t plan on being part of the team for too long.
Additionally, keep in mind, that if you lose someone’s trust, it’s nearly impossible to regain it. And, you can’t fake it! Trust requires authenticity, and while you may get away with pretending for a while, eventually, people will see right through you.
What issues with trust have you encountered? How have you managed them?