Life / Can Do

Helpful tips to living a better life

5 Ways to Build Trust

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Trust is a commodity. It is the currency of any healthy community or relationship. If you cannot gain the trust of others you will not be able to establish a relationship. Marriages without trust ultimately fail. Employees who are not trusted will not succeed. Recently we’ve seen banks suffer a consumer trust crisis. The United States lost its triple-A rating due to lack of trust that its government can make decisions for the common good.

Below are some helpful ideas to gain the trust of others:

1. Don’t lie. This can be difficult to follow. Some would argue that it is okay to lie for the right reasons, but in almost all healthy relationships lying can be avoided. If you feel the urge to lie to spare someone’s feeling just remember the saying: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”. Once you get caught in a lie, trust is damaged even if the intent was good. Even if you don’t get caught others may still sense that you are lying and that can still damage trust.

2. Don’t make negative comments about another person – ever.  To clarify this is not referring to constructive criticism. Constructive criticism by its nature are actually positive. Most likely you already know what kind of negative comments we are talking about. It is those comments whispered during office gossip or even telling someone to their face that they produce shoddy work. If you have an issue with another person you can have a conversation about the type of behavior you prefer. For example “Jen, thank you for the report I appreciate the effort but I was expecting more detail in section A. Why don’t we review it and talk about what we can do to improve it.”

3. Consider the feelings and needs of others. Whenever you are about to commit to a significant decision or action you need to consider its impact on others. If you are married you should discuss any major purchases with your spouse. If you are manager before you commit to having your team work over the weekend you should communicate with your employees and gauge its impact on their personal lives and commitments. If other people  believe that you value them they will believe in you.

4. Keep your promises and don’t make promises you can’t keep. This is much easier to follow if you just avoid using the words “I promise”. However, occasionally we need to make promises to get others to commit to a decision, “If you get this project done by June, I promise to host a golf outing in July.”. If you are cornered to make a promise you are not 100% sure you can keep you need to be clear that you are not committing to a promise. “I will try my best but I just can’t make any promises when there are external factors I can’t control.”

5. Take responsibility for your mistakes. As soon as you are aware that you made a mistake that will have a negative impact on others you need to let them know and apologize. People are much more perceptive than we believe and they can usually sense when someone is attempting to shift blame. They may still get upset and angry but after things cool off they will appreciate your honesty. “Honey, I was talking on the cellphone and backed the car into a tree. I’m sorry.” is much better than “I have no idea how that dent got there but that tree over there always hated me.”.

Trust is earned over time. If you betray someone’s trust it can take twice as long to restore it as it did to gain it in the first place. Deceptive people are never as clever as they think they are and will eventually be found out. If you want to gain the the trust of others you have to be worthy of that trust.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

December 29, 2011 at 9:10 am

2 Responses

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  1. I love the post, and could not agree more with your 5th point. I guess it is human nature to not want to own up to your mistakes, but if you really want people to trust you then this is a very important step in achieving that trust. If you make a mistake, own it and let everyone know what you are going to do to make it right. Everyone can identify with making a mistake, and if you truly do make it right then I think most folks will appreciate your honesty and integrity. Still checking out the rest of you site, but I love what I have seen so far.

    Manage Better Now

    December 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    • Thank you for your comments. After reading your words “let everyone know what you are going to do to make it right” I realized I should have included something along those lines. Taking responsibility for you mistakes means you have to clean up the mess you may have made. I may consider a writing a post on what to do when you make a mistake.

      Tim Thinkauthor

      December 29, 2011 at 4:28 pm

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