How to Earn Trust (It's Simple)
First things first: Why does earning trust matter?
Because in order for us to accomplish goals, create lasting relationships, and impact people's lives, we must be seen as credible and reliable.
The world is desperate for people who commit to do things, do them, and communicate throughout.
Lens: Most of my examples given below are work-related, but all apply to personal relationships and manly character also.
Alright, alright. Enough context, dude. Let's go!
Here are three simple ways to earn trust.
Humility: Be Willing to Do It
Do the menial, boring, or mundane activities with a great attitude, and people will have little justification to distrust or dislike you.
If you have bandwidth on your plate, your humility will guide you to sign up for that piece of work that nobody wants to undertake. Why? Because the team's goal is more important than your hour of surfing social media during work hours.
If your plate is genuinely full, then your humility will guide you to admit that you just can't handle an extra project right now. After all, if you did, and did it poorly because you're preoccupied, would you be serving your team?
But this doesn't apply only to work. Do the dishes. Fold laundry. Take out the trash. Lean in and ask your roommates or wife if there's anything you can take off their plate. There are always benefits of being humble -- some unseen, but all real nevertheless.
There are always benefits of being humble -- some unseen, but all real, nevertheless.
Competence: Actually Do It
This one is pretty simple. Do what you say you're going to do.
In the situations in which you cannot come through, publicly take ownership of the gap, apologize for not hitting it, and do your best to make it right.
There are far too many people in the world that smooth-talk their way out of situations by throwing creative ideas out in conversation. These people look smart and build a fan-base, but they don't rarely follow through, and over time, people get sick of their shtick.
Another well-populated group is those that softly commit to things, stop around 80% or 90% of the way there, and stay silent in the background until someone asks for an update. Then, they knock out the remaining 10-20% and voila, their work is done.
Why do they do this? Three reasons:
(1) They do not want to be done. After all, that is when something else could be assigned to them.
(2) They want to give the work another look before sharing it. I get this, but another look takes one day max, not a week.
(3) They want to be perceived as clutch once the item is almost overdue. Then they might be perceived as a team player, hyper-efficient, whatever.
Listen, I know that these seem like negative takes, but I've seen them all a hundred times. People often don't even understand that these forces are in play -- they're subconscious, which is why self-evaluation is so important.
Net-net: Do it. When you're done, review it, maybe get another set of eyes on it, and finish it.
Transparency: Communicate Throughout
Right now, I manage a team of developers and technical solution architects at Toyota. Guess what the most frustrating thing is that they sometimes do?
No, it's not miss deadlines, though that obviously sucks for multiple reasons.
It's when they fail to communicate.
I completely understand that competing priorities arise and that blockers are bound to rear their ugly heads and slow us down, but I need to know what's going on -- the good, the bad, and the ugly.
And do you know what strengthens my trust is one of these resources more than anything?
No, it's not when they finish something on time (though I love it when they do).
It's when they proactively communicate a delay, issue, or mistake.
I love when they do, because it means that when they give me an update, I can trust the data.
I would rather receive bad news from a humble person than the best news from a self-protective, fearful person. Difficulty illuminates character.
So, I said that these were simple, but I did not say that they were easy.
If you commit to yourself that you're going to be humble, competent, and transparent in everything you do, it will take no less than one hour for you to be at a crossroads.
Will you preserve your ego, or will you admit fault?
Will you be forthcoming about the mistake you made or brush it under the rug and hope nobody sees?
Will you step up and handle the burning item for the team, or will you slink back and handle your baseline responsibilities?
What you'll soon find is this:
Earning trust is not about making people see you in a favorable light; it's about demanding more of yourself, growing as a person, and allowing situations to illuminate your trustworthy character over time.
Your turn, dude!
We all struggle with something. Do you have trouble committing to the humble tasks, driving them to completion, or staying honest and transparent throughout?
What is one issue or situation in your life that you're not being trustworthy on? If you decided to change your approach, what results could it lead to?