How do you build trust in the workplace? It’s a question I have asked many guests on Life in the Leadership Lane podcast including CHRO Jill Cole in Episode 45 when she replied it starts with doing what you are saying you are going to do!” As we talk about getting more buy in and developing influence in the workplace, we must start here. It is a step we cannot skip! Trust is the foundation of leadership. It is both horizontal and vertical. It takes a long time to build and a short time to destroy. So why do so many people skip this step? I would say it’s because it takes so much time. Building trust is all about building relationships. Lou Holtz once said people ask themselves three questions when they meet someone new. The first question is “Can I trust you? The second question is are you committed? and the third is do you care? Did you see what the first question was? Read it again… Can I trust you? It’s everything! So how can we build more trust in the workplace?
Building trust starts with developing relationships. A great way to connect is to remember names, birthdays, and special events. This lets people know you are thinking about them and more importantly that you care! My friend Yvonne Freeman recently sent me a text with a copy of an article about writing gratitude letters. She knew that I enjoyed writing letters and that I might enjoy the insights of the article. This was another layer to the foundation of trust we have built for many years. It told me she was saying, hey, I’m thinking about you today and think you might like this article or that it might add value on your journey”. She wasn’t trying to sell me; she was trying to serve me! The more we serve, the more we build!
One of the things I get asked about most often is around building relationships. Many people share they can’t seem to connect with others they don’t know. I get it. People are busy. But, are you just trying to connect, or trying to build? Here is a question for you… How many connections do you have on LinkedIn or social that you don’t even know who they are? A lot! Yea, me too… we all do! We all like to connect, but we don’t take time to build! …because it takes a long time. The question to ask is, am I selling or am I serving? …and how can I serve this person to help them move a project or career forward?
Recently, I delivered a presentation called 5 strategies to talk to the C Suite to get more buy in. There were almost 300 in attendance and several others watched later… (I am also delivering this at OKHR Conference in April). Before the presentation, I surveyed several HR leaders to get their perspective on building trust and thought I would share a few insights below:
- Do what you say and say what you do.
- Raise your hand to be involved outside of HR… be a business partner!
- Make yourself the “go to” person in the organization.
- Learn and know the business acumen. This will lead to a better financial performance.
- Listen, relate, understand, and listen more.
- Being consistent in your everyday leadership.
What would you add to this list that would help build more trust?
I believe that building trust is about building a brand that says I am going to do what I said I was going to do!
My friend, VPHR Steve Browne recently shared on “Life in the Leadership Lane” podcast (coming march 19) to “be careful about connecting with him, because if you want to connect, he is going to hunt you down and engage you… LOL! I just love this approach because he understands it’s not about connecting, but about building! There are opportunities to build every day, but we must invest the time and not be so quick to move to the next step!
Looking forward to sharing other keys to developing more influence soon… and in my upcoming book “Life in the Leadership Lane: Moving Leaders to Inspire and Change the Workplace.”
Quote of the Day: “A great team doesn’t work together; a great team trusts each other.” Simon Sinek
Call to Action: What are you doing to build trust in the workplace? Ask your colleague or network about what they do? This will also lead to building more trust in your relationship.
This has been A Relocation Minute on “Get Buy In with Trust” with Bruce Waller, for more information, call