R2-D2, you know better than to trust a strange computer!
3CPO said it in Star Wars.
You mother said it to you too, in fact you have probably been hearing it all your life. Don’t trust strangers! But what happens when that stranger is you?
Trust is the basis for most interpersonal relationships, and we have heard it said a thousand times that trust is earned and once broken it is almost impossible to earn again. There are the obvious reasons for losing trust, so we won’t go into those here, but the real question is how do we foster trust, gain the belief of others and once we have it, how do we keep it?
The Avocado Vision Trainers who run the 90 minute Avobyte session on building trust had a few pointers:
- The social contract
When you say you will do something, whether you did a pinky-swear or not, you entered into an agreement to get it done. You need to keep it! Did you, in passing, say that you’ll email that document right away, then do it right away. Not in ten minutes. If people realise that they can rely on you to deliver on even the most casual of promises, they will rely on you more and more.
You’ve worked with not-my-fault Franny before right? She’s great. Nothing is ever her fault. She didn’t get you your report on time because the printer crashed ten minutes before it was due, or her laptop blew up, or the courier company didn’t arrive, or or or… Spinning something so that it isn’t your fault, even when it’s not makes it look like you are avoiding accountability. If you aren’t accountable for anything, how can anyone ever trust you? Yes it sucks to be one taking responsibility but if you are involved, don’t blame the hapless courier guy, own up to the fact that you probably should have had it delivered sooner, or planned for a delay. Spin makes people angry, because it’s shady. Don’t be the shady guy!
- Be Competent
Basically do a good job. If you know, going into a task, that you are out of your depth, ask for help. Don’t accept it and then make a mess. Or wait until the 11th hour to call in the troops! Let people know early if you can’t handle something, and if you have taken it on, not asked for help, or asked advice, then make sure that you can deliver above standard work on time.
Trust, just like Rome, isn’t built in a day. It’s an ongoing process that takes an intentional effort in order to flourish, and protect.