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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

How to Build a Platform of Trust

Now that summer is right in front of us, it is nice to be outside in the Texas heat, watch the kids play, and lose track of time. We have a swing in a tree in our front yard and at night kids gather and push each other. Our son Sam, who is now 8, is the trickster. He likes to go fast, hang upside down, and freak us all out with his aerobatic stunts. He trusts that he won't get hurt and that the branch will hold him as he twists and turns going as high as he can. Remember what it was like to have free flowing trust?

Trust is one of the most important components in building a Smart Zone community. Without trust, the benefits of building high EQ cannot be sustained, and the strategies that lead to productivity will be sabotaged. Trust provides the platform for productivity, efficiency and for Working in the Smart Zone.

The platform of Trust is attainable in any relationship at work and at home, and there are also ways to keep it steady and strong. The following Smart Moves can strengthen the platform of Trust and allow you to Work in the Smart Zone:

  • Address and right the wrongs. Blaming others is one of the fastest ways to burn yourself in the trust department. Passing the buck shows that you lack integrity. Do what is necessary, even when it inconveniences you. If it's your responsibility, fix it. We see this all the time especially in the political arena. Watch Scott McClellan's interview from this morning on the Today Show about his new book.

  • Be loyal to others when they're not present. At work, your alliances may change, and someone who's your peer today could be your supervisor or manager tomorrow. People will trust you when they have confidence that you can be trusted when they're not present, and that may not happen until they experience you behind the backs of others. Don't gossip, don't speak for other people, and encourage communication between two people instead of triangulating yourself into the communication of others. In this world of technology, there are many ways to maintain healthy alliances to build trust. Click here for my handout on trust.

  • Be clear with expectations and hold people accountable. When supervising people, be deliberate about the outcomes you are expecting and when possible, make them measurable. Set timelines so you can hold people accountable and monitor whether or not they have the self-management skills to hold themselves accountable.

  • Build your self-regard. Self-regard is how you see yourself and how others see you. It is very different than self-esteem. Your self-regard is what lets people know whether they can trust you to accept feedback, manage criticism, and be honest with them in return.

  • Be predictable, caring, and faithful. When you're predictable, others begin to see that you are consistent. When you're genuinely caring, others will trust you and see you as compassionate and invested in them. When you're faithful, you build loyalty, which is the result of a trusting relationship.

  • Demonstrate respect for those you work with. One-sided respect in relationships is temporary and delicate, yet over time it builds into respect that is reciprocal.

  • Follow through on your commitments. People can smell insincerity when a commitment is not followed through. When someone gets the reputation that he or she can't be trusted to do as they say, they face a hard uphill climb.

  • Be the same in public and in private. Some people are better at acting than others. It's better to be transparent than to be fake. When people can count on you being the same in private as you are in public, they'll trust you to be who you say you are. They'll also trust that what you say today will be consistent with what you say tomorrow.

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