Trust is one of the most critical assets we have – in our lives and in our careers. When others trust in us, we get more done and get it done more effectively and efficiently. When we trust ourselves, we are more confident every step of the way.
But trust doesn’t just happen magically. And in a new professional role, it can actually be quite easy to undermine others’ trust in us, even when we doing with our best and acting with integrity.
Here’s why. Trust is all about vulnerability. It’s about being open about who you are and why you are. It’s about avoiding that all-too-human tendency to side-step around our failures and hide our weaknesses.
And when we are in a new role, ideas like “being vulnerable” and “being who you are” sound scary because inside we don’t trust ourselves to be good enough.
Say you are starting a new job. A little bit of fear is natural. Even if you are confident in your ability to do the job, the culture of the new workplace is an unknown, the people are unknowns, the expectations are unknowns. And those unknowns can create self-doubt which leads to fear.
Today, I’d like to offer up 5 relatively simple things you can do to day-to-day to earn more trust.
- Ask someone for their point of view. And then listen carefully. You don’t have to accept their answer or convert to their position. You just have to listen and understand.
- Assume you are not the smartest person in the room. Too many people assume they know best and that they have the best solution to any problem. Separate yourself from these people with a mindset of “I don’t know everything” in fact “maybe I am the dumbest person in here.” This mindset leads to discovery. It leads to asking the right questions. It leads to listening. And all of these lead to trust.
- Ask for help. If you are unsure about how to approach a situation, ask your colleague or your manager for help or advice. If your work situation prevents you from doing this, get an outside perspective. Doing so will build their trust in you because they know you are open about your uncertainties and will ask for help when you need it.
- Ask for feedback. After a meeting, ask the attendees for input on how it went and what could be done better. This shows you value their opinion and are willing to change your practices for the betterment of the team.
- Admit a mistake. This is tough. Start small. Point out a typo or a missed requirement. Own up to an oversight and make the effort to correct it in the best possible way. Whatever you do, don’t sweep the mistake under the rug and hope no one notices. They will and if they sense you tried to hide it, trust will quickly degrade.
Of course, the real challenges come not in our day-to-day work when we can take small steps, but when we make big mistakes and need to own up to them. These are the moments that trust is broken or built in large sweeps. But I think by incorporating some of these smaller steps into your day-to-day activities, you’ll be better prepared to handle the big challenges.
Start Building More Trust With Your Stakeholders
We cover many trust-building techniques in Essential Elicitation Skills. Our participants are amazed at how after making simple changes to how they communicate and facilitate meetings they are able to get more done in less time.