Last week we shared a list of Ten Behaviors that Kill Trust. I admit, presenting things in such a negative light went against the grain. So, being a glass-half-full kind of person, I decided to flip it around and offer some best practices and behaviors for building trust to counteract last week’s worst practices.
Trust by Jol Ito, Flickr
Building trust in the workplace starts with being trustworthy. Here are ten behaviors you can practice to become more trustworthy and build trust.
Be honest: Be a truth-teller. Become known for answering questions honestly and telling the truth, even in difficult workplace situations. When you’ve made a mistake, own up and apologize. People trust people who don’t lie.
Provide realistic risk assessments: The person who stays calm in a crisis and helps others stay focused is easier to trust than someone who enjoys whipping everyone up into an adrenaline frenzy at the slightest sign of trouble. When a crisis occurs, focus on providing a realistic risk assessment and pursuing actions that move people away from panic and toward problem resolution.
Share information: Shining the light of transparency on the organization, yourself and your work shows people that you have no hidden agenda. Most people dislike feeling uninformed and out of the loop. Unless information is confidential, share it to build trust. When you do, you also demonstrate that inclusion is more important to you than control, which further reinforces your trustworthiness.
Be congruent: You may have heard this powerful quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying." Or the well-known idiom with a similar message, “Actions speak louder than words.” Both statements express the fundamental disconnect people feel when a person says one thing and does another. It’s almost impossible to trust someone who’s incongruent in this way because our survival instinct kicks in and we become instantly suspicious. If you want people to trust you, make sure your actions align with your words.
Build people up: Behavior that seeks to build up others (as long as it’s even-handed and doesn’t show favoritism) shows a commitment to the success of the team, which fosters trust. In the words of David Ogden Stiers (subsequently paraphrased by Stitch in Disney’s Lilo and Stitch) “Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” Actively and publicly building up co-workers and reports makes them feel part of something bigger—much like being part of a family that “has their back.”
Treat everyone with respect: Dale Carnegie’s self-help book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, has sold over 15 million copies since it was first published in 1936. The foundation of Carnegie’s approach is about gaining trust through a respectful and genuine interest in others. Long before Stephen Covey introduced his 7 Habits and shared #5: Seek First to Understand; Carnegie wrote “To change somebody's behavior, change the level of respect she receives…” Being sincerely interested in and respectful of everyone you work with makes you easier to like and trust.
Follow through: When you make a promise, deliver—even if only to explain an unavoidable delay. Call when you say you will. Send that follow-up email with details right away. Make the introduction you said you’d facilitate. To build trust, master follow through, because people trust people whose word is their bond.
Give credit: Make sure that credit is given where it’s due. Acknowledge everyone involved in a success, not just those who naturally stand out. Avoid letting co-worker’s steal each other’s thunder. Above all, be generous in acknowledging the contribution of others to your own success.
Provide clear, consistent direction: Dependable, constant, resolute—these are words that inspire trust. Be known as a champion of “change for good reason” rather than a perpetrator of change for the sake of change (or to relieve your boredom!) Make it clear that you know where you’re going and why and that you don’t change direction on a whim.
Communicate: So much of trust is based on effective communication, as are many of the behaviors listed above. To build trust in your workplace; communicate well, communicate often, and communicate sincerely.
Building trust takes work. Destroying it can be effortless. Since we can’t change the behavior of others and only our own actions are entirely within our control, the best way to build trust is to start by examining and improving our own habits. Take stock. Are you practicing these ten behaviors? If not, it’s time to start. Build your bridges before you need them—create trust before a crisis and everyone in your organization will experience the value of a high trust working environment.
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Dennis S. Reina, PhD and Michelle L. Reina, PhD have devoted their professional life to building and rebuilding trust in the workplace because, in their words:
“Business is conducted through relationships and trust is the foundation of those relationships.”
Photo by Jesse757, Flickr
While working directly with organizations for over 20 years, in those that foster relationship and trust-building behaviors, they found that employees focus on the work they were hired to do and productivity increases. When trust is damaged, however, morale and productivity begin to decline and turnover increases.
Although it’s possible to destroy trust
I sat down to write today’s blog and decided I needed a mood lightener. First, I thought about sharing one of those hilarious “it could only happen in HR” stories. But we’re not a big office and I’d run the risk of exposing personal information about an employee, so scratch that idea.
Next, I dug through my humor folder, where I save stuff that tickles my funny bone, to see what popped. I had a reminiscent chuckle over this unattributed list found on a forum a while back.
Rules Left Out
20 Secrets of the World's Greatest Coaches
Cleaning out some old files I came across a handout from a coaching workshop I attended some years ago. A single sheet of paper with the heading “The Coach’s Toolbox” and a list: Twenty Secrets of the World’s Greatest Coaches.
Heartfelt Coaching by woodleywonderworks, Flickr
The page included a scorecard with the obvious intent of allowing participants to score themselves (from 1-5 on each attribute). It was blank. I’m not sure if that means I was uncomfortable scoring myself when I received the handout, or
Pirate Bold. Wikimedia Commons, public domain
In spite of the fact that succession planning is identified as a critical and strategic component of HR management, even major international corporations often get it wrong. Here is a quick review of what we consider to be some of the more damaging succession fails in the past few years.
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Aside from managing core HR data, Human Resources and technology may seem like an oxymoron at first glance. But in today’s tech and media saturated environment, managing data is only the beginning. At SHRM 2013, the SHRM Special Expertise Panel shared the following current and emerging HR Technology Trends. And one trend is crystal clear; HRIM is not just about employee data anymore.
1. HR Data is Secure in the Cloud
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All of us at TribeHR are excited to (once again) be hosting the Carnival of HR. For this week’s carnival, we asked HR bloggers to send us their best (recent) posts about making HR fun. When HR administration is slowing you down, that can be a tough theme. But as always, the HR blogosphere was up to the task.
We only picked the best posts for inclusion in this week’s carnival. Here are the top 3 ways that HR makes its own fun:
3. Meetings and Metrics
As Karin Hurt at Let’s Grow Leaders (subscribe here)
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Mistake #1: Vague feedback.
Mistake #1: Too Vague
Whether it’s a lack of preparation time, an inability to communicate effectively, or a fear of offending an employee, a lot of reviewers use vague language in their performance reviews. Worse yet, some reviews contain only numbers
Wouldn’t it be easier to keep your entire team disengaged? Think about it; they walk in the door with their own laundry list of personal baggage, for some reason they want to be respected, they’re ambitious, and sometimes they even get distracted.
So why bother? If you’re ready to destroy your company and shatter morale, we’ve got 13 unlucky tips for you! WARNING: No HR Manager worth their salt would follow this advice—the results would be ugly. So please enjoy the laugh, then go back to doing what you do best.1. Forget about sincerity
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Many companies choose to hire human resources professionals to help maintain their culture and take responsibility for