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Five Trust Building Dos

Moving Toward Trust in an Era of Distrust

Fiscal cliff political maneuvering and house-of-cards financial scams scream the "don'ts" to trust building in this era of distrust. It's easy to watch others derail trust when their self-serving interests, and win-no-matter-who-loses approaches prevail. However, following a don't-do-that approach won't build sustainable trust either.

What's needed in these times of diminished trust, are positive trust building "dos." Want more trusting relationships at work? Here are five simple trust building dos that will enhance work relationships, no matter your role:

1. Operate with respect. Respect is an essential trust building component. If you don't offer respect to others, why would someone give you their trust? The respect component operates as a transparent window giving others a glimpse of who you are. In the words of Malcolm S. Forbes, "You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who do nothing for him." What are your actions communicating about you?

2. Eliminate the blame game. Finger pointing, assigning fault, or condemning others' mistakes diminishes trust. That ferret-out approach instills fear, not innovation; reduces engagement, not errors; and reinforces scapegoating, not accountability. But people who step up to accept their mishaps and acknowledge their mistakes build trust, enhance accountability, and enable future-focused solutions.

3. Cultivate self-awareness. Do you stop to consider how your actions, including your words, affect others, or do you operate in a sea of self-absorbed cluelessness? Your answer is tied to your current trust building capacity. Those who operate with thoughtful self-reflection enable trust building; those who don't erect trust barriers.

4. Apply honorable intentions. If your intentions are honorable your actions will more likely than not be perceived by others as trust-building. But if you're out to deceive or manipulate; to "win" no matter the approach, the resulting behavior typically broadcasts no-trust. Most of us don't operate with deliberate dark-side intentions, but instead find work challenges in varying shades of grey. Operating from integrity and positive intention offers a path toward trust no matter how grey those situations may appear.

5. Get beyond yourself. Those who operate in this age-of-me with an eye on the greater good, a philosophy of contribution, and an understanding of the interconnection and interdependence that builds a better future for everyone create trusting relationships Those who cling to myopic self-interests, don't.

The reality of trust-building "dos" at work is this: we are often both the problem and the solution to the ills that plague our workplaces. Acknowledging that is step one.

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