Secrets to building trust at work – Part I

Secrets to building trust at work – Part I

It is such a powerful word to use. Especially when discussing the positive side of sex in work-life-balance. At certain times, and in certain places, sex is taboo. Sex when talked about with work also carries with it a great deal of judgement. Some with excellent reason. Thankfully sex education is more  available and we can now even learn about sex benefits and best practices from scientific research. But what about sex and the positive benefits it brings to people at work?

The Trust Equation

The equation is: Trustworthiness = (Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy) ⁒ Self-orientation Charles Green developed the formula after deconstructed the problem into micro-learning opportunities for better understanding trust. He did so by overseeing a massive study of  72,880 participants who were tested using he and his team’s Trust Quotient (TQ) Assessment between the years of 2008 and 2015. The big finding:

Focusing on one’s wisdom or IQ was not the path to building trust.

It was more complex than that, of course, and 4 particular variables came into play a lot.

4 variables that can make the difference in trusting

The Trust Quotient (TQ) score is a measure of how participants self-assess for trustworthiness based on the below variables. Credibility: The words we speak make a difference. We might be like, “I can trust what she says about the financial projections; she’s a CPA, a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and is very credible on the subject.” Reliability: The actions we take make a difference. We might be like, “If he says he’ll deliver the project next month, I trust him, because he has delivered each time before and he’s dependable.” Intimacy: The safety or security that we feel when entrusting someone with something makes a difference. We might be like, “I feel I can trust her with that information; she’s always kept my confidentiality in the past, and she would always support me.” Self-orientation: A person’s focus makes a difference. Self-centered egomaniacs might not be the most other people oriented and trusting is a two-way street. We might be like, “I can’t trust him on this agreement — I don’t believe he has my best interests in mind, he’s too focused on what he’ll get out of the deal.” Or more commonly, “I don’t trust him — I think he’s too concerned about the money and how he going to look once this deal is closed.” I really love Green’s formula because of its simplicity and practicality. When coaching or training clients we really need to make the learning process simple and engaging. Clients need tools that they can call upon at any given time to help guide their actions and develop their skills in real-time. When you’re ready for a Tips & Tricks break you can watch the video below on how to develop trust at work which also describes Green’s formula.

The Speed of Trust

Another secret agent I came across in my development journey was Stephen Covey. I’m a big fan as he publishes truly noteworthy pieces of work on everything from leadership to effectiveness . I remember reading, in my early days of learning, Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It was brilliant at the time to be able to access helpful information when new management tools were more scarce. In fact, I appreciated his literature so much I even bought and read his 8th Habit book! Covey has a knack of also simplifying and deconstructing the problem into micro-learning steps. I love a step or phase approach because it builds on each other. Each step or phase you complete brings you closer to your goal and, in turn, provides you with a beneficial hit of dopamine that does the body good. When Covey put forth his book The Speed of Trust in 2006 with Rebecca R. Merrill, things became more clear. Trust is the foundation. There is no escaping the topic and sooner or later you better understand it as it crosses all aspects of our day-to-day lives. Trust affects our own personal relationship with ourselves, as well as, every single relationship we have with another living being. Even my fish Tini, see below, trusts me to feed him daily and bath him once a week to stay healthy and strong.  

Side note: As our blog title suggests, this is a Part I so even though I’ll share some of Covey’s research now, the real deal secrets of Covey will be covered next week in Part II. What engages me the most is Covey’s unique perspective to see trust through a lens of business economics. It is a pretty grounded point of view, especially around the office, to consider how trust affects both the cost and speed (schedule) of things. My fav is how he discusses trust as a hard, not soft, benefit. Hard because it is something tangible with data that can make it quantifiable. The pitch, companies are paying out heaps of cash due to low trust / high-cost penalties.

Surfing the 5 waves of trust

Even more interesting is that Covey contextualises the development process of trust as waves. Makes me think of Quantum Wave Theory which is a fascinating topic to cover in a future blog. From Covey’s research, he believes that 5 distinct waves occur when establishing trust. Let’s take a look at them. 1st Wave – Self Trust: This 1st wave is all about building and maintaining personal credibility. Demonstrating integrity, positive intent, capabilities and results. Which similarities do you see between this wave and the research by Charles Green’s Trust Equation? 2nd Wave – Relationship Trust: This wave consists of keeping track of consistent trust enabling behaviours. 13 to be more precise. These behaviours involve both character and competency and will be reviewed in Part II. 3rd Wave – Organizational Trust:  This wave involves the persistent practice of elements from the previous waves to improve trust levels within internal stakeholder relations. Within the organisation, this becomes more prioritised as the touch points between relationships increase. This wave is when stakeholders align with trust-enriching practices like authenticity and transparency for the better of the organisation. 4th Wave – Market Trust: This wave is a lot like brand trust. It’s bigger than the organisation and more like a trusting in what the organisation stands for. Brand trust can also be more personal like a consultant / contractor having their own self-branded trust. 5th Wave – Societal Trust: This wave is the big picture phase. It governs the sum of the contributions to society and relays trust back to societal groups. For example, Justin Trudeau, current prime minister of Canada and all his trusted support from millions of Liberals and non-Liberal voters for what he gives back to Canadians.

The only additional contribution I could make to the 5 waves of trust above would be to expand the 1st wave of Self-trust to include trusting ourselves. In my experience, when I don’t trust myself, I have a hard time trusting others. Being self-aware of these waves of trust empower us to observe, communicate and act in trust-nurturing ways. Once you are leading by example you will begin to inspire results in a whole new and authentic way.

6 steps is all it takes

Forbes was also interested in trust back in 2013 when their contributor, Joseph Folkman, published, “The Six Steps To Trust”, referencing an evidence-based improvement study. They asked 35,000 leaders, “What should you do if you want others to trust you more?”, and the following themes presented themselves:

  1. Build positive relationships: Time to start training from those High Quality Relationships. Be empathetic, likeable. Start conversations, seek out trusted council and be transparent.
  2. Stop competing: There is no “I” in TEAM. Haha. I had to say it. Being overly competitive will not win you friends or influence people (thanks Mr. Carnegie). Drop the competition and pick up some collaboration. Or even better, co-creation. It is your job to self-regulate at work and sometimes that means pacifying the alpha within to be a more trusting team player. A loan alpha-wolf can move faster but co-creating teams can take us further, out of this solar system.
  3. Throw others a bone: You want to give a little to get a little. Perceiving that individuals support each other helps build trust. Instead of only getting your goals achieved, look for opportunities to help others reach their work goals and help reach organizational goals at the same time.
  4. Be balanced: If you have a Me, Me, Me, Me, Me-centric personality I’m thinking it may be challenging to trust you. It helps to build trust when people perceive you also have their positive regard in mind. This connects back to Green’s Self-orientation variable as discussed above. Best to balance the need for results with a respectable level of concern for your colleagues’ needs too.
  5. Track your commitments: I have this cool tool I offer to clients who are very numbers focused, like accountants. It’s an EMOtional-Balance Sheet and was shared to me by a past professor of mine down under, Dr. Lindsay Oades. If it helps you to gain more perspective, start tracking the times you or someone you are looking to trust are fulfilling their trusting promises. Sometimes people withdraw too much by giving emo-cheques that bounce. Things need to balance overall to support reliability or else trust becomes one-sided.
  6. Accept blame and share credit: Ohhh. Taking ownership. This is a big one. Who likes the blame game other than the one pointing the finger? No one. Our entire work existence is an ongoing co-creation process. The quicker we can accept that, the faster we will empower ourselves knowing that we “can” influence change. As for sharing, sharing is caring. Nuff said really.

So if you really want to build more trust at work, please follow some of the above suggestions and practice for progress. After applying some passion and persistence you will be more trusted in no time. Trust me 😉 Besides, isn’t it better to try something new than to fear the status quo of office mistrust. If there is something, evidence-based, that can help both the person and the organization you better believe that I’d be signed up to develop.

Enough about me. What do you think of me and my perspectives? Lol.😉Please, let me know your feedback or questions by using the comments on our social media channel of your choice. 

Much love, light and self regulation.


Always be Self Regulating

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