Building Professional and Personal Trust
Trust is essential if you are to have a productive relationship with someone. Trust is one of those black and white issues – you either trust someone – or you don’t. You don’t trust people ‘a bit’. If you’re working in a team or as someone’s boss or subordinate, trust is really important for getting results without having to invest a huge amount of additional time in second-guessing everything they do.
Think of someone you have a relationship with - a business partner, colleague, employer, a client or someone in your personal life. Focus on that relationship. For each statement below score your relationship from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
1) I am a trusting person
2) I trust myself to get the job done if that's what I've promised to do
3) I feel my trust level right now with [name of person] is very strong
4) I’m less concerned about past dealings with [name], than about what we will do from now
5) I feel confident demanding accountability from [name of person]
After you've responded add up your ratings. This number will be in the range 5-25.
Interpretation: Each statement addresses a different aspect of trust or partnering.
1) I am a trusting person is about general trust and how you approach the world, new people/situations/opportunities.
2) I trust myself to get the job done if that's what I've promised to do is about self-confidence.
Do you trust yourself to follow through/keep your word? (Also determines your trustworthiness in other people's eyes)
3) I feel that my trust level right now with [name] is very strong is about trusting another. If your trust level is low, discuss your concerns with him or her. Does your lack of trust involve something he or she did/did not do? Focus on specific behaviour, not what motivated the behaviour. Avoid judgments about honesty, integrity, or ethics.
4) I’m less concerned about my past dealings with [name] than about what we will do from now is about your past/future orientation. Relying on past history for decision-making removes the possibility for change and destroys trust. When we rely on mutual vision and strategic planning for decision-making, trust increases.
5) I feel confident demanding accountability from [name] is about your willingness to confront the person. Can you be open, honest and direct with him or her? The more straightforward you are, the more trust you will build.
What am I currently doing to build or destroy trust in my relationship with [name]?
What did [name] do recently to build or destroy trust between us?
Did I have to hide something from [name] today?
Did I communicate trust to [name]?
Prepare what you would like [name] to do?” (Be as behaviourally specific as possible)
Next Steps: Communication is the key. “Seek first to understand” (Covey 1989)
Consider how they feel – where they are at/coming from
Ask “What can I do, specifically, to increase the level of trust in our relationship?
Ask “What can you, [name] do to specifically, to increase the level of trust in our relationship?”
How you are both going to take stock? Agree how you will both give behavioural feedback
Action Plan: Once you have talked this through agree to try out some new behaviours…
Consider the specific situation, such as historic baggage; current pressures; the environment; or timing issues
Be realistic about the about of change that is possible. and be supportive…behavioural change can be tough!
Create a three-point action plan listing what each of you will do to improve your trust relationship and commit to following through. Don’t forget to book a time, date and place to discuss how things are going and give and get sensitive feedback.
Relationships will get stronger when you actively build trust.
References adapted from :
Dent SM. (2004) Partnering Intelligence: Creating Value for Your Business by Building Strong Alliances Nicholas Brealey. Boston MA USA 7
Stephen Covey (1995) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic. Free Press, New York NY USA.
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