Tuesday, September 27, 2016

When being Right can be Wrong for Building Trust

Did you know most motorcycle accidents aren't the fault of the motorcycle driver? Two thirds of all motorcycle fatalities are caused by the car driver. The car driver's usual response is they just didn't see the motorcycle until it was too late. The motorcycle driver might have been right, but how did that help the situation?

What does all of this have to do with trust? So often we want to hang our hat on being right. Just like the motorcycle accident, being right doesn't help you if the outcome is catastrophic and you can't count on being right to save you.

You need to go beyond being right, and use empathy and observation to get the outcome you want. You have to separate impact from intent. We judge others by their impact, but ourselves by our intent. It should be switched around.

Trust isn't about being right. Get that out of your head. It's based on being open and vulnerable, and having positive expectations about another's behavior. It's been awhile since we talked about the 5 C's of trust, so here they are again as a reminder.

Caring:
People will trust and support you if they know you truly care about them. Caring can show up in how you connect with others. Caring leaders give credit to their employees and challenge them to reach new levels. When we care, we lead with the heart and the head. What does care look and sound like to you?

Commitment:
Showing up is an essential part of commitment. It means bringing energy and initiative to the job. It means staying on course and doing what you say you will do long after the time has passed when you first said it. Keep your commitments no matter how small or large. When you can't keep a commitment, you have to communicate and ask to be released from it.

Consistency:
Consistent leaders evaluate themselves and make sure their words and actions are congruent. Are you congruent? Everyone has off days so, if you do fly off the handle, circle back and take ownership of the inconsistency. Imagine a politician who bases his platform on being open and approachable, and won't listen or attend meetings. Make sure you are congruent. Decide what your values are and use them to make decisions. It will help to guide you and keep you constant.

Competence:
People will question your competence if they don't see it in action. When people can see that you know what you are doing, they extend trust. Your competence is developed through experience and requires work. Don't be satisfied with mediocre. Be the best you can be. Keep your skills fresh by being a lifelong learner and listener.

Communication:
Communication is an exchange of information. You aren't communicating until the other person understands what you are saying. Using the trust framework refers to being able to communicate in a caring, committed, consistent and competent way. The Mehrabian model of communication includes verbal, vocal and visual communication.
  • Can we use words that show we care, and are committed, consistent and competent? (verbal)
  • Do we show through our actions and body language each of the four competencies? (visual)
  • Does our tone show each of the four competencies? For example, if we say we care, does our tone demonstrate this? (vocal)
Insisting on being right isn't going to bring more trust into your life. Instead, work on building trust by seeing what is right in others.