If I polled employees and managers in your workplace, I can almost guarantee a lack of trust will be mentioned as a barrier to their success. We provide management and leadership training to thousands of managers globally, and a lack of trust is mentioned as one of the top issues in organizations because it comes up in every form of feedback we obtain from employees and managers alike. If trust issues exist in your organization, we have a toolkit we utilize to help address the problem, and one of the main tools we highly recommend is Stephen M.R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust. Covey identified 13 specific behaviors anyone can use to build trust, and we have our clients develop action plans for their employees that provide the road map for reinforcing these 13 trust building behaviors. Here is a brief overview of each from his best selling book:
Behavior #1: Talk Straight
Everything rises and falls on honesty and truthfulness. Always tell the truth, and let people know where you stand.
Behavior #2: Demonstrate Respect
Let people know you respect them by the way you treat them. The old cliché “treat others like you want to be treated” is flat out wrong. Treat others as they want to be treated. That’s how you demonstrate respect.
Behavior #3: Create Transparency
In every interaction you have, declare your intention, and show people that they can trust what they see is what they always will get. Nothing is more powerful than having a reputation for being transparent.
Behavior #4: Right Wrongs
Every day that you wake up is another chance to get it right. Make things right wherever possible and stop avoiding taking action unless forced to do so. By taking action to right a wrong, you remove one of the hidden barriers to success.
Behavior #5: Show Loyalty
This is about giving credit to others and always showing people that you accept responsibility for good and for bad outcomes.
Behavior #6: Deliver Results
Establish a track record for delivering results. Don’t be late to meetings, and as Success expert Jim Smith Jr. says, “Stop making excuses.”
Behavior #7: Get Better
Do things that lifelong learners do. Read books. Share newly acquired knowledge and information. Engage in social media to grow your expertise. It’s important to consistently take action to be better because as Henry Ford once famously said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.”
Behavior #8: Confront Reality
Don’t dodge the tough conversations. Confront the issues and encourage others to take action to find solutions to problems and challenges they face.
Behavior #9: Clarify Expectations
Be clear about what you want people to do and what you expect to hear them say. As simple as this sounds, 95% of managers fail to set expectations correctly, and we spend a great deal of time in our workshops for managers teaching them how to do it right 100% of the time.
Behavior #10: Practice Accountability
Hold yourself and others accountable. 90% of people will play the blame and deflection game. To build a habit of accountability takes practice, and we have attendees to our workshops constantly screen their thoughts and actions by answering 3 specific accountability building questions.
Behavior #11: Listen First
Actually listen. Most people don’t as they have become conditioned to listen passively. Put down the phone. Stop multitasking. And give your undivided attention to the person talking to you.
Behavior #12: Keep Commitments
Stop breaking commitments and violating other people’s expectations of you. Follow this simple equation 100% of the time: Say what you’re going to do, then do it.
Behavior #13: Extend Trust
Expand the trust to those who’ve proven they can be trusted. Extend trust conditionally to those who are still earning your trust. Never extend what Covey calls “false trust” – giving someone responsibility but not the authority or resources to be successful.
Trust is a critical ingredient for success because you cannot achieve success without the support of others. By investing the time and effort to make all 13 of these behaviors a habit, your level of trust and influence will expand exponentially, and as a result, so will your level of success.
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