Gaining the trust of your peers and your customers isn’t as complicated as many would have you believe. In fact, it’s not difficult at all. There are five basic rules for earning and keeping trust in your professional relationships:
1. Tell The Truth. It sounds simple, but it’s easier to say than put into practice. How else might we phrase this one? NEVER LIE. If you’re tempted to tell a white lie to sway something in your favor, you’re doing it wrong. Tell the truth every time. Your customers, coworkers, employees, and even competitors will come to depend on your honesty as a staple of good business.
2. Give Constructive Feedback. If you have a positive impression of someone, you should tell them. If you have something to share that could allow them to enjoy greater success, you have an obligation to share. No one likes a know-it-all, so don’t go overboard in offering up your wisdom, but people are often unaware of how they impact others, and shining a light on behaviors (good and bad) can be very valuable.
3. Be Consistent. While it is certainly possible to change your mind on some things from time to time, you have to create consistency in order for people to know where they’re going to stand with you. If you waiver back and forth on your own principles, those around you will tread lightly, if at all, when approaching you for fear of which side of the fence you’ll be on at any given moment.
4. Live Your Rules. Every person needs to have a written list of their rules that guide your every moment. Your rules aren’t about what others are allowed to do. They’re what you’ll allow yourself to do and have done to you. Your rules are your personal commandments, and it’s your job to enforce them. If you have a rule that no one can take advantage of you, then you have to be willing to stop the train when someone tries and invite them to exit the vehicle.
5. Seek Feedback. Always be willing to receive and even proactive in seeking feedback from others. How am I doing? How am I leading? What should/could I do better? What do you need from me that you’re not getting?
In all of these rules, there is a wealth of knowledge that helps us to gain and keep the trust of others. People need to feel valued and respected. When we lift them up and help dust them off, when appropriate, they sense our investment in them, and they trust us more the next time we see each other.
Tomorrow Begins Today.