Someone recently asked what I would consider a necessity for a module on building trust. I think about this topic a lot because there are so many things people can do to affect a positive or negative interaction with others, hence building or breaking trust.
I try to follow a few simple tips when building relationships:
1. Assume the better, not the worse.
Everyone is fighting a battle I know nothing about. So, I just try to be nice (most of the time) and I find that really helps in building relationships and trust.
2. Offer more genuine praise and less “feedback.”
I have seen trust broken by the overuse of smiles and inauthentic compliments. Too much feedback, besides being demoralizing, totally kills trust and respect. I give compliments abundantly but not inauthentically and try to let the little things slide. You did things slightly differently than I asked but still got the desired outcome? Who cares. You see something from a different perspective? It doesn’t mean you are wrong. I pick my battles and try not to get stuck in the “yes, but…” conversations.
3. Pick your close friends and share your struggles with them.
Don’t put others down. But, share your challenges and your burdens with those you trust. Some may call it gossip – I would call it “getting things off your chest.” Not everything. Not every day. But form a tight-knit group of co-workers whom you call friends and whom you can talk to or text.
4. Work hard and show up when you say you will.
Be the person others know they can count on. Get up 5 minutes early so you’re never late and finish what you start.
5. Listen to others.
Push the laptop out of your way, flip your phone over, and look people in the eyes when they speak. Listen, process, and respond. Let them vent to you, let them open up to you, and then offer your thoughts and opinions. It’s okay to play the devil’s advocate if you don’t agree. Just be real.
Be authentic. Be kind. Assume the best. Praise appropriately. Don’t over-correct. Find your real “work” friends. Be on time. Listen well.
That’s the formula I try to follow. Flawlessly? Absolutely not. To the best of my ability? There is no reason not to. Give it a try and let me know how it works out.