A chief executive flies in to have a skip-level meeting with the troops. Naturally he wants them to feel free to open up to him and share things that would help him be a better leader. The time is limited, and of course in addition to ‘hearing them out’ he also has a handful of slides he wants to share with them – his vision, the strategy, the top priorities, and how employees can contribute. All good information, all well-intended. So, looking at the clock, he gets down to business! After he leaves, comes the meeting-after-the-meeting with your colleagues and you realize that nobody felt totally comfortable speaking their minds with the boss.
This scenario is all too common: not enough time to establish trust with someone to make a significant positive difference. It happens when a manager dutifully meets with an employee every six months for the performance management ritual. It happens when you meet with a new client and only have one hour for your presentation. It happens all the time! The result? No real positive change.
But trust is critical if we are to make a significant positive difference for someone, whether it be our employees, our customers, or a business partner. Here are three ways to develop trust quickly…
- Share about yourself. Disclosing appropriately about oneself communicates that we trust the other individual. Sharing creates transparency, common ground, and trust.
- Give of yourself. A genuine offer of help can go a long way. This requires that you truly mean to help the other person. This communicates care and concern, both of which are required to develop trust.
- Forget about yourself. Ask, listen, and focus on the other person. It is amazing what one can discover when we forget what we need and want and focus on the other person’s needs and wants.
Obviously, trust takes time. But if time is not on your side, these three simple suggestions can accelerate the building of trust. Keep in mind that these suggestions will only create trust if the real intent is to benefit the other person.
To quote Stephen M. R. Covey, “trust is the one thing that changes everything.” Without it, you may get down to business but fail to get the real business done.