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We can take the five predictors of trust and create this abbreviated formula to apply the big five every day. Competence plus relationship divided by self interest. Our trust formula begins with competence which includes reliability. People need to know that we're experts, that we're skilled, that we know what we're doing and we're reliable enough to actually do what we know how to do. But, even in the workplace, expertise alone is not enough.
People need to like you. They will find it easier to trust you if they like you. And they'll be able to like you if you are open and honest and friendly and consistent in what you say and do. I had a surly old colleague once who used to say, I don't care if people like me as long as they respect me. Well, sadly for him, the two are not mutually exclusive. And finally, we divide the sum of our competence and likability by self-interest. The more self-interested someone is the more trust they lose.
You've probably known people who would throw you under the bus if it served their cause. Or someone who had no issue taking credit for your work. Remember, concern for others' best interest is our very definition of trust. How do you do on these three dimensions of credibility? In general, are you perceived as more of an expert? As more likeable? Or as more generous and concerned for others? Which is your weakest area? Let's go back to the situation you described in your trust building action plan.
We'll work the formula backwards. What are three specific ways you can demonstrate that you are concerned about the other person? Of course, we all have some degree of self-interest, but how do we balance that with concern for the other? Could you volunteer to do something for the other person? Can you give up something that has been yours? Can you go out of your way to tell others about an accomplishment of the person? Can you listen to your person without interrupting, and when responding just paraphrase what you heard him or her say.
Make the whole conversation about them instead of about you. Get specific. Attach dates if you can by when will you engage in these three actions, demonstrating your interest and concern for the other. Now, what about relationship? Circle or write down three activities you can do to build better relationships with the person in your action plan. Do you socialize with your person? Make small talk. Are you willing to share some of your own personal life? Not going overboard of course. We all dread that over-sharer at the office, right? Do you have a good sense of humor when the person is around? Do you smile? It's your turn, three things you can do to improve the relationship you have with your person.
Finally we turn our attention to competence. Are there ways that you can improve your skill set? Can you get some training, read a book, consult an expert? Perhaps you can broaden your understanding of the business beyond your own department. Can you work with a mentor on a new project that would help you learn across functional areas? Are you meeting all deadlines, following through on every little promise? Think of three ways you can actually become more of an expert in your field than you already are.
Let me ask you one more important question when it comes it to expertise. When was the last time you told someone about the amazing work that you do every day? If the person you are building trust with doesn't work closely with you, he or she might not even be aware of how competent you are. And while I know you don't want to come across sounding arrogant, you do have to be willing to tell your story, to share your accomplishments. How else will some people ever know how awesome you are? Watch as Ben misses a great opportunity to build his senior vice president's perception of him.
>> Hi there, Ben right? >> Yes. How you doing Miss Hansen? >> Great. What are you up to these days? >> You know, just, just the usual stuff. >> Don't let this be you. Use these golden opportunities to do a little self promotion. We've all been so inundated with messages like don't brag and don't pat yourself on the back, that we're now afraid to share legitimate successes. Imagine the competency score Ben can build for himself if this is how he handles his braggable moment.
>> Hi there, Ben, right? >> Yes, Ben Davis from human resources. How are you doing Mrs. Hanson. >> Great what are you up to these days over in HR? >> Oh, actually really busy. I just got back from an after action review of a training symposium, I set up for our sales reps. And they're grasping product knowledge 50% more than they were before and spending three less hours in training. So, you know, pretty happy about that. >> I bet. That's great. >> Yeah, I had a great time designing the training. >> Well, have a great weekend then. >> Yeah, you too. Thank you. >> At your core, you are trustworthy if you are competent, reliable, open, consistent in word and deed, and concerned about others.
Your day to day behaviors tell others that you are trustworthy. But what if someone has only just met you? How do strangers determine your trustworthiness? Let's take a look at our last circle of trust.
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