I'm with 20th-century humorist, Will Rogers who said, "I would rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the man who sold it." And yet, none of us want to fall for a scam, risk failed results, or believe false promises. None of us want to naïvely give our trust at work.
Yet, many do the equivalent without realizing it.
They operate as if trust was an on-off switch. These people profess that they "either trust someone or they don't." For them, it's an all-or-nothing proposition. Their trust giving is unmitigated, unconditional, and unqualified. It's also naïve.
Workplace and business relationships are complex. And so is authentic trust building. Trust evolves incrementally over time, is based on sound judgment, and is not a blank check. There are limits and conditions. Those who give authentic trust understand there is the possibility of a breach of trust, and weigh risks and benefits before proceeding.
Think of authentic trust building like turning up a dimmer switch. You gradually turn the light brighter to fit your needs. It you turn it up too bright, you can turn it down and adjust the level. Giving trust is like that.
Use the Dimmer-Switch Trust Building Approach
High performing work relationships emerge from trust. Accountable actions, grounded in consistent behaviors and commitments honored and fulfilled, fuel more trust-giving.
Trust begins by giving trust. Here's how it works:
Central to a dimmer-switch model is the understanding that accountability builds trust. In fact, authentic trust requires it. But it's not the kind of accountability used as an organizational buzz word related to compliance-driven behaviors, or "you need to be more accountable" finger-pointing.
The accountability that increases authentic trust is grounded in mutual commitment to the work relationship, demonstrated by personal action. In the words of Molière, a 17th-century playwright, "It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable." Want more trusting work relationships? Use the dimmer-switch model to build them.
Below you'll find more tips for how to increase your trust currency:
You'll find more trust building tips in my new book, The Titleless Leader.