Have you ever had a difficult encounter with a client and then found it hard to reach out to them? Have you ever been in a client situation where your trust has eroded? How about with a coworker? Don’t be afraid to admit if you have, because it’s a normal part of life and can happen quite frequently. One of the many challenges we have with professional and social engagements is building and keeping trust. I call this the “trust factor”.
The Trust Factor
The trust factor is strengthened by many different behaviors: Following through on commitments, walking the walk, being true to yourself, evoking transparency, and maintaining accountability. Time, of course, is also a crucial influence on the trust factor. The time it takes to build trust with any one person can take days, weeks, or even years. But in business, we all know that we must make effective use of our time to build trust as quickly as possible.
In order to successfully and effectively build trust in your professional relationships, you’ll need the help of your peers, team, and clients. Once this is accomplished, a cohesive bond can be formed between teams, which will ultimately foster productivity and results. In order to have trust, one must establish a strong sense of credibility. This can be achieved by:
- Establishing clarity around roles and responsibilities which builds a foundation that supports credibility
- Reinforcing credibility by holding yourself and your team accountable
- Sustaining credibility by working together to make and honor commitments
Step 1: Build a Foundation that Supports Credibility
Establishing Clarity around Roles and Responsibilities
Think of it this way: You want your house to have solid foundation when it’s built, right? It serves as your house’s main support. The same theory applies to your trust factor. A poor or weak foundation to your house results in costly, ongoing problems. Having poor credibility and lack of role clarity supporting your trust factor, well, you can imagine.
The first step in establishing a foundation for your trust factor is to clarify team roles and responsibilities. To do this, your team has to be able to answer the question: “What is my purpose on this team?” Their answers to this question will gauge your team’s understanding around their roles and give them an opportunity to establish their credibility. Everyone’s trust factor will be firmly supported once credibility has been established.
Many organizations have a lack of clarity around roles and accountabilities. This becomes a caveat to project collaboration, credibility, and success. The slightest miscommunication or misunderstanding can damage an entire team’s credibility and momentum. Without a clear vision of established roles, a team will scramble when a new idea or problem presents itself. In addition to creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and a lack of predictability and credibility, missed opportunities, rework and delays will surely emerge.
Step 2: Reinforce Newly Enforced Credibility
Hold Yourself and Your Team Accountable to Meet Client Expectations
The first thing you need to do here is eliminate mediocrity. It is our responsibility to call people out for under-performing and encourage improvement. Imagine the implications to a team when more than one person is picking up extra slack. Feels counterproductive, stressful, and hurts the team’s morale, doesn’t it? By being accountable, tasks will not fall through the cracks. As a result, your progress will remain strong. If you see an area in need of improvement, be vocal about it. Be true to yourself and your peers (Read: being at face value) while maintaining a high level of transparency. This will reinforce a sense of trust within your environment. Accountability greatly evolves your trust factor and will take it to the next level.
Step 3: Sustain Credibility
Working Together to Make and Honor Commitments
Finally, work together with your peers and clients. Keep metrics that add value and make sure that everyone understands the purpose, goals and format of the metrics. This will add visibility on what each member of the team has committed to accomplish and will stimulate accountability. It is at this moment that trust is mutual with you and your client or peers. Throughout the project, the synergy created from mutual trust will make your team run on all cylinders.
Be transparent with your team to maintain credibility. By following through on your commitments, you will continue to grow trust with those around you. Sustaining a mutual trust between your client and peers will remove crippling roadblocks, allow you and your peers to see goals clearly, and induce a high performance environment.
Get Started. Build Trust Today.
Can trust be achieved in a short amount of time? If mistrust exists, can it be eradicated? This, of course, is the million dollar question. By simply treating your team as your true teammates and allowing a more fluid, open channel of communication, trust will begin to develop and results can easily be obtained. Work on obtaining clarity and agreement from everyone at the beginning and watch your team go into overdrive. Amazing things happen when everyone is on the same page, working toward the same goal, and sharing a dedication for excellence.
Do you always hold your team mates accountable? Can you think of a time when you could have been more transparent with your client or team?