Building More Trust

In a previous post, I wrote about the importance of building trust, and I mentioned various ways to do this, including cultivating such traits as: honesty, closeness, and exhibiting trustworthy words and deeds.

On thinking more about building trust, I’ve realized since then that other factors are equally important. They include:

Expertise

The more expert you are within a particular discipline, the more others will trust your opinions, analyses, and capabilities in that area – and by extension they will trust you more generally, as well. Of course, it’s not enough to proclaim your expertise; you must demonstrate it by delivering performance that makes a positive difference.

In today’s hyper-complex world, of course you can’t know everything. But you can strive to become expert in one or more areas that interest you, and to express an appropriate humility about your opinions, analyses, and capabilities everywhere else.

Integrity

It’s hard to be build trust when people can’t count on you to behave consistently in accordance with well-accepted moral and ethical values. When a person does the right things, people nearly always come to feel a level of trust.

To establish and project your personal integrity, learn to think more carefully about what you say and do. If your instincts aren’t as straight-arrow as you’d like them to be, it’s a good idea to cut back on acting impulsively. Get in the habit of  taking as much time as you need to think about and plan your next action so it helps convey a message of trustworthiness.

For example:

  • Say only what you mean.
  • Explain your intentions.
  • Promise only what you can and will deliver.
  • Admit your mistakes and what you have learned from them.

Transparency

It’s a simple fact of human nature that secrecy begets distrust. To earn more trust from the people around you, practice open communications, open dealings, and open sharing of your plans and intentions.

This works well with integrity, because when you behave consistently in accordance with well-accepted moral and ethical values, it’s easier to be transparent: You have fewer secrets (everyone usually has a few personal things to hide) and fewer worries about unwanted exposure.

But even more important, studies show that when you readily reveal personal information to other people, they instinctively trust you more than they trust someone who tends toward secrecy.  

Transparency also makes your work and your life simpler, because you don’t have to remember who knows what, or how much you can and can’t reveal to different individuals. Nor do you need to worry about people talking with each other when you’re not around and discovering discrepancies in what you’ve revealed to them.

Clarity

Aside from who you are and how you behave, your ability to communicate clearly is a major asset in building more trust.

People instinctively trust someone who listens attentively, responds honestly, and explains simply and accurately.

These are simple skills you can learn as you go along by:

  • Paying attention to the people around you,
  • Practicing as much transparency as you can comfortably handle, and
  • Working to get your thoughts and feelings across to others as accurately and completely as you can.

Professionalism

In both your work and your life, exuding a sense of professionalism is going to earn you more trust from others.

Professionalism entails a variety of factors, including:

  • Your overall competence and confidence.
  • Taking into account the impact of your emotions on your understanding of situations and your responses to difficulties.
  • Respecting yourself and others.
  • Caring about your promises, results, goals, and deadlines.

Gaining the trust of other people is important. But it takes time. That’s a big reason the sooner you start working to build more trust, the sooner you will obtain the benefit of it.

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