“Do you trust him/her?”
The answer to that question determines a lot – whether you follow a leader, and whether others follow you. Given the centrality of this tenant to, well, everything…the question is how exactly do you build trust? I’ve been thinking about this question a lot over the years and there is one person I think has also thought about this deeply. His name is Jamie Notter. He may be new to you. But I believe he’s someone you ought to know more of.
If you were going to assign us in Yes & Know community just one thing to build our trust muscle so we could collaborate better with others, what would you have us do?
Ask questions. I know it sounds simple, and there’s definitely more to trust than just asking questions, but I think it is absolutely the best way to “build the trust muscle,” as you put it. In most organizational settings, questions are surprisingly rare. We make reports, we write emails and memos, we share data, and we do a LOT of convincing of others. Our work lives are mostly about providing answers. And having good answers is okay. Being competent is a component of building trust. But the real heart of trust is about risk. Taking a chance. Putting your interests in the hands of another, and trusting them not to take advantage of you. Asking questions can help you do that. Questions—genuine open-ended ones—are risky. They might expose that you don’t have all the answers. They enable the other person to take the conversation in a direction you hadn’t planned. That gives the other person some power. And real questions require you to actually listen to the answers, which is also a generous act—giving the other person your attention. When you build the habit of asking genuine open-ended questions, you show people that you trust them, and this helps them to trust you more too. To keep building trust, you’ll eventually have to start taking even greater risks, but building the skill of asking questions is a great way to start.
Exactly. In small actions, we can shift big things. The next time you’re interacting with others, put this into your hopper …
Jamie has an absolutely outstanding new book called Humanize; it’s one of those practical guides for realizing the true potential of social media–not for marketing, but for leadership. Do check it out, here.
And (and this goes under the header of Yeah-ness), I got an early copy that I’m going to share. (Well, I got two copies, really. I’m sharing the unused one. And, see, my mother did raise me right. Sharing = good.) But I need your help to decide who gets it. I’ll randomly pick a winner to receive it, from contributors to this post. Let’s set the deadline by end of day, Friday 10/7. How about you share ideas around trust? Ideas of what works, what doesn’t… especially what you love in others that creates trust.
Okay, your turn. Tell us something good to know.