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August 30, 2019

The Four Key Behaviors that Build Trust


"Our research indicates that in high-trust environments, people show up and do their best work." -- Dennis Reina, PhD., and Michelle Reina, PhD.

In our previous blog, we talked about the critical importance of trust in the workplace. One of the ways that successful companies thrive is through Leadership and Trust. Trust increases speed and lowers costs in business.

Trust is not built on what you say or think. You can also have TRUST as a personal value, but colleagues still don't trust you. Trust is created by WHAT you do and HOW you do it. The impact of what you do, the behaviors they see, and what you say you are going to do, impact trust. What do you want your impact to be?

Here are four key behaviors that build trust that you can implement more in your everyday leadership:

1. Acceptance: We all have a need to be accepted and respected for who we are. People who are accepting are more understanding and emphatic of other's mistakes. They see mistakes as opportunities to grow and learn versus being critical and working toward strengths in others. When we don't have a high level of acceptance, we tend to play the "blame" game. When we are critical, we react with frustration whether expressed or not. What happens is we diminish the trust other people have for us. Acceptance takes effort.

How consistently accepting are you? This doesn't mean tolerating poor performance, but it does mean leaving more space for mistakes for yourself and others.

2. Openness: When people are not open with us, we tend to lose trust since we feel something is being hidden or we don't know the whole story. We then make assumptions, form judgments, and feel we are not trusted. People who are open and transparent are willing to share their thoughts, feelings, and vulnerabilities. They encourage feedback and open debate in teams.

How open are you with others? Do you have a barrier around yourself? When do you find yourself making assumptions about others?

3. Straightforwardness: We like people who are honest and have the courage to speak the truth, even when it is something we may not want to hear. Straightforward people also embrace conflict as something different is wanting to happen. What is wanting to happen differently here? When we are straightforward and come from an open heart, people feel we have their best interest at heart. When we say what we mean, we show people trustworthiness.

"Your words and deeds must match if you expect employees to trust in your leadership." - Kevin Kruse

How hard is it for you to be straightforward? What are your concerns/fears about being straightforward?

4. Reliability: We trust people who fulfill their commitments - not over-commit or take on more than they can handle. This is easier said than done. When we walk our talk and lead by example people know they can trust us. And we know this is hard to do consistently.

Who do most admire that demonstrates this aspect of Trust?

How trustworthy are you? How are you building or diminishing trust in your leadership?

Here's to growing our leadership, together!

Warm Regards,

Lori Heffelfinger

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