In the talent management field, the importance of trust is not to be underestimated. To be successful in today’s competitive environment, leaders must build and maintain strong, trusting relationships at work. Charles Feltman’s The Thin Book of Trust observes 4 Distinctions of Trust that foster this type of relationship:
Sincerity – “I mean what I say, say what I mean, and act accordingly.” It is always important to show honesty in the work that you do. When you express an opinion on a topic, make sure it is valid, useful and backed up by sound thinking and facts. Your actions must align with your words or others will not feel that you are sincere. If you know that you will not be able to make a commitment due to an unforeseen setback, be sincere and explain the situation upfront or as soon as you have become aware rather than waiting until the last minute to let someone know that you will not be able to fulfill an assignment.
Reliability – “You can count on me to deliver what I promise!” Meet the commitments that you make and keep your promises. When people find that you are reliable, they will come back and ask for your assistance. Being reliable means being there not only through the celebratory moments but also through difficult situations. The more you show that you do deliver on your promises, the more people will rely on and turn to you for your guidance. In the words of Mark Twain, “actions speak louder than words.”
Competence – “I know I can do this. I don’t know if I can do that.” Ensure that you have the ability to do what you are doing or propose to do. You must have the capacity, skill, knowledge and resources to accomplish certain tasks and objectives. It is important to understand what your competency level is in all areas of the organization. If you run into a topic or department that you have not worked with in the past, do some research and grow your competency in that topic or department. Ask questions from experts and strengthen your knowledge base so that you can handle questions in the future.
Care – “We’re in this together.” Have the other person’s interest in mind as well as your own when you make decisions and take actions. When people believe you hold their interest in mind, they will extend their trust more broadly to you. Be unselfish and place yourself in the other person’s shoes. This may change the perspective that you are currently holding and may lead to a better resolution.
Being a leader is not a simple task—whether you are a leader of a team or a process. However, if you keep in mind the concepts shared above, they will assist you in building and maintaining strong trusting relationships at work.
Tiffany Cardwell is a Principal Consultant on MCM’s HR Advisory Services team. Her expertise lies in over twenty years of experience in domestic and international human resources. She has expertise in acquisitions, change management, engagement, leadership coaching and development, performance management, compensation and total rewards, talent acquisition and workforce planning.
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