What makes you trust?
Trust sits at the heart of our relationships, at home and at work. It is the glue that makes teams do exceptional things, it’s the basis of a healthy culture and the very best starting point for success. Sadly, I often find it missing in some of the organisations I work with. A lack of trust between management and employees, between divisions, between senior leaders and middle management, or even a lack of trust in an organisation’s processes and systems can be fatal to the development of a thriving culture and can prevent effective culture leadership..
Authentic leaders generate trust without having to think about it. Their teams will follow them to the ends of the earth and deliver what they’ve promised to deliver, simply because they don’t want to let those leaders down.
How do you build trust?
If you look in the dictionary, you’ll find the following definition: “trust: a firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone.”
At Walking the Talk, we like to expand on this definition by using a four-pillar framework for building trust.
Being reliable is about keeping your promises. It’s at the heart of accountability. Big or small, broken promises always lead to a loss of trust. This means that if you want trust, you’ll need to think carefully when making promises. Cancelling or not following through just isn’t good enough in the world of reliability. If you really have to break your promise? Make sure you let the other party know why you had to break it and exactly what you’re going to do about it.
Being open is the opposite of being defensive. It’s about accepting that we’re not always right. An inherent belief that there is always something to learn. Asking for feedback is one of the best ways you can do this. And because feedback needs to go both ways, giving it is also crucial. Volunteer information, don’t skip the details, and tell people what they need to know. And if some secrets need to be kept, let others know to avoid misunderstandings.
Congruence is about speaking your truth, and not necessarily saying what others want to hear or what you think you should say. If you get caught with a lie, don’t deny it – that would be another lie. Speak from the heart. Say what you want and need to say with the best intentions – for you, for the other party, and for the relationship. You will find that it becomes a lot easier to say those difficult things.
The heart wins every time.
Accepting others just as we’d like others to accept us is at the heart of the fourth pillar of trust. We are all different. Some of the differences can be obvious, such as the colour of our skin, the language we speak, or our gender. But accepting others is also about accepting the way they think, accepting their truth, and recognising that it can be very different from ours – and that we can also earn from it.
Rebuilding trust after losing it is not impossible. It just takes time. To rebuild lost trust, stick to the four pillars.
A few questions for you:
• Which of the four pillars is your weakest? And which is your strongest?
• Do you fundamentally trust that people will do the right thing?
• If you have lost trust in someone, what would it take for you to trust him or her again?
• When was the last time you said to someone, “I trust you”?
Jerome Parisse-Brassens is Walking the Talk's Director Asia Pacific.