How to Repair Broken TrustNovember, 14 2012
Trust is an important element of an efficient work environment. Organizations that have trust among employees are usually successful, and those that don’t frequently are not. Trust starts at the top. Top management needs to set the example, and build it into every department.
Roger Dean Duncan, contributor to Fast Company, recently wrote an article about the top trust busters that dilute your credibility. He says you don’t deliberately dilute your own credibility; however it’s possible some of your behaviors are producing precisely that unintended consequence.
He shares two of the most common “trust busters,” or behaviors that erode trust among direct reports and colleagues, along with their fixes.
According to Duncan, the following types of “double talk” can damage trust:
- Cherry picking
- Vague commitments
He suggests instead of using these types of double talk, be honest and clear. Use simple words and provide the whole story.
He also provides four ways to avoid double talk:
- Be sure all sides to an issue get a fair hearing and play it straight.
- Use plausible, relevant, and real examples.
- Words that lurk behind corners or tiptoe around issues are neither credible nor convincing.
- Make specific, realistic commitments and honor them.
Pulling rank isn’t an effective way to engage with people, yet some people try to exert their influence by using their position of authority. Duncan says, “Maybe their ego gets in the way. Maybe they delight in the role of bully. Maybe they’re impatient and just want others to do things their way.” Pulling rank does the reverse of engaging employees.
Duncan provides five steps to help avoid pulling rank:
- Question your motives
- Examine your case
- Inspect your language
- Consider desired outcomes
- Practice conversation skills
Sometimes we break trust by exhibiting poor judgment or poor behavior. Trust is a delicate thing which takes a significant amount of time to build, but it can be broken in an instant. It’s possible to repair and rebuild trust, but you need to address it immediately. Use these tips and don’t let trust issues fester in your organization or in your relationships. Address them and start building trust back now.
What are some other trust busters and how do you fix them?