In my work as a courage-builder, I describe three distinct types of courage: TRY Courage, TRUST Courage, and TELL Courage. TRY Courage is taking action to do something you’ve never done before. TELL Courage is being a truth-teller, especially when it’s hard to assert your truth. TRUST Courage involves disarming yourself, being vulnerable, and releasing your need to control or “be right.”
Since leadership is a relationship, and no relationship thrives without a solid foundation of trust, I decided to share some ideas for building trust. They’ll help you unlock the potential in any relationship.
KEEP PROMISES: The best way to gain the trust of those around you is to DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’LL DO! It is preferable to honestly say to someone, “I can’t right now, I’m swamped” than to take on more than you can handle. A good rule of thumb is to under promise and over deliver. People trust people who keep commitments, so keep your word!
KEEP CONFIDENCES: What does it feel like when you tell someone something in confidence, and then they turn around and tell someone else? If you’re like most people, you get steaming MAD when this happens! No one trusts a gossiper, so resist the temptation to join in when everyone else is whispering secrets. And keep in mind—what may seem perfectly neutral to you may be sensitive to someone else, so always ask before sharing any personal information relayed to you with others.
WHEN YOU MAKE A MISTAKE, FESS UP: Sometimes relationships suffer and sometimes mistakes offer a great way to build trust. When you do something (or someone) wrong, don’t hide it. Admit it, say you’re sorry with sincerity, and watch the trust grow! Seeing that you are honest with yourself about your faults will help others trust that you are honest with them, too.
KEEP GAINING SKILLS: It’s important to keep gaining, and deepening, your skills. People trust competent people. Think about it: who would you trust more to be your brain surgeon, a resident doctor on his first day on the job, or a seasoned doctor with years of experience? In today’s changing world, this key is increasingly important. It may be a hassle to keep up-to-date with the latest in your field, but it’s 100% necessary.
BE WILLING TO TRUST FIRST: For people to trust you, they have to know that you trust them. Instead of waiting for the other person to “prove” themselves to you, why not just trust them first? Chances are, when you offer trust, you’ll get trust in return. Building a relationship involves a certain amount of risk, but nothing worthwhile is ever risk free!
“The people when rightly and fully trusted will return the trust.” —Abraham Lincoln