We’ve all experienced the heart-wrenching pain of friendships and personal relationships turned sour because of a breach of trust. We all instinctively know when those relationships reach a point of no return. Yet, we’re dumbfounded about how we contributed to the breakdown of those relationships, or how to keep them from going off the rails in the first place.
At work, it’s even more difficult to build and maintain trust in relationships. We’re thrown together with people who we may or may not like, and forced to interact and collaborate. Sometimes, everything comes together beautifully, like a well-rehearsed orchestra. But a lot of the time, the relationships, missing the element of trust, devolve into a cacophony of “he said”/“she said”, finger-pointing, and outright sabotage.
So how do we build mutually-beneficial work relationships with people on a basis of trust?
I’d argue that the best way to build trust is to be trustworthy. If you’re a shining example that people can put their confidence in, you’re likely to attract benevolent relationships, even at work.
Here are three ways to build rock-solid relationships with your coworkers and clients:
Nothing repels people more than knowing they’re being sold a bill of goods. If the person you’re dealing with senses your lack of honesty, you can kiss goodbye any chance of building a good relationship. Being honest doesn’t take much effort, but it does require you to open up, admit when you’re wrong, and even admit when you don’t know something. Your ego might fight this, but it’s the best way to strengthen your connection with others.
Putting on your “true” face and honestly showing up in a relationship can feel foreign if you’re used to wearing disguises to fit in. It’s downright scary to think that if you show the real you, you won’t be accepted. Yet, this authenticity is crucial in building strong relationships. You’ll feel freer to deal with the other person, and your genuineness will impact the other person in powerful ways. You’ll effectively give them the authority to be themselves, too. And a relationship like this, built on true connection, will absolutely flourish.
Give to Get
Have you ever known someone who believes everyone is out to get them? Maybe it’s one of your Facebook friends who goes on and on about “haters.” Or the coworker who tells you to be wary of an entire department because they had a bad experience with one person in the group. These people go through life with a lack of trust in other people which results in attracting exactly what they expect!
Giving everyone the benefit of the doubt right off the bat may sound a lot harder than it is, but once you commit to this, you’ll see dramatic results. Out of respect for another person’s humanity, it makes sense to offer them trust right away. Just like people can sense when you’re being dishonest, they can also feel the mixed message of a sneer behind a smile. When you treat people with automatic trust and hold the expectation that they are worthy of your trust, they generally rise to your perception.
Make Their Lives Easier
Especially over the last year, many of us have come to build an amazing relationship with Amazon. Yeah, it’s a company. And yes, some even think it’s an “evil monopoly.” But the reason that customers LOVE Amazon is that they have built a relationship based on trust. If Amazon was your life partner, their traits would be admirable. They listen to us, respond quickly, supply us with what we need, and get it right nearly every time. They make our lives easier by over-delivering, and this is the mindset you need when dealing with others at work.
Be completely dedicated to listening to, supporting, and serving others. In practical terms, remove the burden from them whenever and however you can.
Need to schedule a meeting? Don’t just ask them when they want to meet… suggest a few times.
Have you done some research for a project that your colleague could use in their work? Send it over to them with a smile.
Asking a question? Tell them everything you’ve tried before just launching a general query their way. And if you can, be sure to time your question so it doesn’t interrupt them in critical moments of focus.
You get the idea.
When your goal is to build trust, remember that respect goes a long way.
Summing It Up
Hopefully, this short list will make you think a little differently about building trust at work. From my experience, when I employ these techniques, I enjoy better relationships, built on strong foundations. It’s super simple to integrate these habits into your interactions with others, and I’m sure if you try, you’ll find that you experience better relationships both in your personal and professional life.
Let me know in the comments section if you have any other techniques to build trust with your colleagues.