Gaining Trust

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” Ernest Hemingway

In his book, The Speed of Trust, Steven M.R. Covey writes that there are five waves of trust-Self, Relationship, Organizational, Market, and Societal Trust. Using the analogy of a wave formed from a pebble hitting the surface of a pond, the primary source is Self Trust from which emanates the other four waves.

Although all five waves are important, this month’s column will focus on the second wave, relationship trust, and give some ideas on ways to encourage this trust in your various interactions and interpersonal connections. With a strong foundation in this second wave of trust, the stronger trust bonds will strengthen your organization.

As a leader or business owner, it is important to understand that the strength of your organization and your relationships are based upon trust. It should also be noted that trust is a two-way street, for there to be a truly trustworthy relationship, whether with your colleagues, subordinates, customers, trust needs to be reciprocal. You need people to trust you as much as you need to trust them.

So, how might you go about engendering trust amongst your employees, colleagues and others? One very powerful way, as Hemingway says, is for you to put your faith or trust in people if you are to know them as trustworthy. A way to extend this trust is to show them they are truly part of the team, and the business, by involving them in conversations that demonstrate you appreciate their role in the success of the organization.

Here are three questions that may help start a conversation which helps to develop a stronger trust relationship and engender a team approach to realising business goals and objectives.

What do you feel are the things we are doing that work well?
What do you feel is not working for the organization?
What do you feel we should be doing?

In asking for their reflections on the business-what’s working, what’s not working and what can we do better-you are demonstrating that you value their thoughts and ideas. You are showing a trust in them being team members with a vital role in the success of the business.

This leads to two other important aspects in gaining trust which are to show loyalty to your team members and to listen before talking.

If you demand respect or loyalty, it will only be given when it is earned. Therefore, it is important that you reciprocate by being respectful and loyal. One way of showing loyalty is to ensure that credit is given to the team member or members who came up with a solution. Great leaders attribute their, or their organization’s, success to those who support them. Taking the credit diminishes the team and lessens the sense of loyalty and respect.

Finally, when you take the time to truly understand what each person is saying, you are building upon the foundation of trust. When you truly listen to and understand a subordinate or colleague’s ideas and concerns, they are more likely to seek or accept your advice.

Gaining trust is crucial to the success of your business.

This was first published in my Motivated Coaching eMagazine in October 2016.