Building trust is difficult. Even worse, it is easier to destroy than it is to build.
More often than not, the damage is not caused by major acts of deception but through missteps in everyday interactions. I recently attended a webcast with Dan Rockwell of Leadership Freak and Stephen M.R. Covey, son of Stephen Covey and author of the best-selling Speed of Trust. During the call, he discussed the mistakes many of us make in establishing trust. Here were the key take-aways:
- Assuming trust. You can’t assume that what you did in one scenario will automatically transfer to the new scenario. You have to make creations of trust an explicit objective and take steps to do it. Model the behavior you seek.
- Not acknowledging that there is a lack of trust. I am particularly leery of someone who ignore issues. Especially when there is a lack of trust stemming from their behavior. It calls into question their level of astuteness, sensitivity, authenticity and honesty.
- Not apologizing. If someone is unwilling to apologize, how can I believe that they would ever be willing to change their behavior which takes considerably more effort? Here’s 7 tips to help you avoid screwing up the apology.
- Not compensating for past mistakes. Our actions can either make deposits into the trust account or withdrawals. If you have lost trust, then you need to take actions to rebuild the trust.
- Not keeping commitments. Actions speak louder than words. Like the example I mentioned above, failure to keep small commitments makes it unlikely that someone would trust you to keep larger ones. I will not refer someone for a job who fails to keep small commitments with me. I learned that lesson the hard way.
- Not making the intentional effort to adopt trust-building behavior. You can’t be lazy with trust. It takes effort and intention. If you are doing it right, you will spend time pondering interactions and motivations. That is exactly as it should be. Snap decisions and instincts have their place, but so does thoughtful engagement.
Let me know your thoughts on these points.
Listen to Webcast Recording courtesy of Dan Rockwell.