“Who you are speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.” – Emerson
In both its presence and absence, trust is a critical and yet also often elusive quality of positive working relationships.
Being trustworthy is not a rigid or permanent state or a fixed personality characteristic; instead, trust comes from the consistent demonstration of certain behaviors.
Trust is first an inside job, and begins with you.
Julio Olalla defines trust as having three critical components: sincerity, competence and reliability.
Sincerity means delivering consistently with your intentions: people believe you mean what you say. This means acting and being in integrity with societal ethics as well as personal or organizational values.
Competency means having the competency or skills to do what you promise. You can deliver on your promises because you have the technical capacity to do so.
Reliability means fulfilling promises consistently, over time. You can be sincere and competent, but given a history of inconsistency, your reliability may be questioned.
Unintentionally, assumptions of insincerity, incompetence and unreliability can easily infiltrate working relationships. When these assumptions are dominant, distrust becomes the foundation upon which working relationships get built – not a particularly steady place to grow from.
How can you nurture trust in your working relationships?
- Start with you: assess yourself. How do you show sincerity, competency and reliability in your work and working relationships? How can you strengthen each of these behaviors or skills? When or where in your life are you insincere, incompetent or unreliable? How can you better align your action and words, build your skills or capacity, and keep your commitments?
- Design agreements that build trust: practices that will strengthen your sincerity, competence and reliability as well as support those behaviors in your team.
- Reward the behavior you want: recognize when promises are fulfilled to create a culture that praises sincerity, competency and reliability.
- Be specific in your requests of others, as well as your own commitments: what will be done, by when, and how will you measure success?
- If you find that you don’t have as much trust in someone else‘s sincerity, competence or reliability, see if you can turn your complaint into a request. Behind every frustration or complaint is a unfulfilled request: instead of complaining, you can be more productive in your feedback by making a request.
- Be brave and don’t swim alone: Opening a conversation on trust within your team or organization takes a willingness to engage in a different kind and level of dialogue with others. So don’t do it alone: ask for help, and be willing to learn from each other and from your mistakes.
In the Comments below, I want to hear from you.
From your experience, tell me: What works to build trust in a team?
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