Almost every week, and many times more than once a week, someone says to me, “The problem in our organization is that we don’t have trust.” Sometimes it’s because the person talking to me doesn’t trust others; sometimes it’s because that person doesn’t feel trusted; sometimes it’s because that person has observed the lack of trust among other people. And, yes, sometimes it’s a strange combo of all the above. (Somewhat like ordering a diet drink with a double cheeseburger and large fries.)
The lack of trust can cause the effectiveness of any team to grind to a halt. Unfortunately, most of us don’t give enough thought to what it takes to earn people’s trust. We tend to feel that people should trust us because, after all, we are trustworthy. At least from our point of view we are. But, what about from the other guy’s perspective? What does it take for that person to trust?
There’s not a formula because we’re talking about people, and we’re not always rational. But on the whole, there are some things we know about the essence of trust that we can use to develop trust. Of course, the most important thing is to be trustworthy. Do what you say you will do. Stephen Covey wrote years ago that a big part of trust is as simple as “Make a promise and keep it.” That’s pretty basic. On top of that, I have noticed that those who give trust, receive trust. Those who wait for others to trust them before they give trust, often face an uphill battle.
Beyond being trustworthy and giving trust, I have found that people who build emotional connections with others often find that people trust them more than those who don’t build strong relationships. Finding common ground always builds good will.
So what about you? What have you seen that builds trust?