Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Building Trust

Do you find it easier to figure out who you can trust rather than trying to figure out who trusts you? If you answered yes, then you’re not alone.

Look at this bull’s eye below. Write the names of people whom you completely trust in the center of the eye. Move out from the center putting a person’s name in each of the categories. Place people according to where you trust them.


With all of the work that I do in trust, I’m seeing a correlation between how much people trust and how much they are trusted. It would seem that trust is a reciprocal emotion. We are more likely to trust those who trust us.

I was speaking at a conference and I had the attendees do this exercise. At the end of the presentation a woman came up to me and said she was a head nurse at one of the large hospitals in the city. She put most of the people she worked with on the outer ring of the trust circle and admitted that they didn't trust her either. We sat and talked about what she could do to increase trust, but it had to start with her trusting them more. Because there was such a trust deficit, I suggested she start by having a frank discussion around trust and bring in trust behaviors. It wouldn't happen overnight, but if she stayed consistent and committed to building trust it would make a huge difference, not only to her and the nurses who worked for her, but to the patients who would benefit from a happier workplace.

Here are some of my suggestions:
  1. Demonstrate genuine concern for your employees.
  2. Recognize their achievements.
  3. If they make a mistake, correct through coaching and not punishment.
  4. If you make a mistake, admit it.
  5. Explain goals and targets in a way that shows how it benefits them and not just the organization.
  6. Use 'we' more than 'I'.
  7. Be accessible.
  8. Don’t make promises unless you know you can deliver - and if you can’t. explain why.
  9. Increase frequency and candor of your communications.
  10. Spend more time explaining options during stressful times.

Trust starts from within us.

We must first trust our self before we trust others. When you were doing the trust circle exercise, did you place yourself in the center?

Here is something for you to do. Finish these sentences:

This week I’m going to:
This week I’m not going to:

Now post this someplace you can see. See how you do at building up trust within yourself. Wouldn’t it be great if we carried through on all of the promises we make to ourselves? Those savings accounts would be healthier, our weight would be where we want it to be, and others would know they could count on us. Personal trustworthiness precedes relationship trust.

So what are you going to do to build more trust?