Trusting Conversations

Tuesday, July 1 2014

Trust fuels strong relationships that can transform the culture of an organization. Ultimately, it can deliver outstanding results. Teams that have high trust are we-centric; they see team members as partners rather than adversaries. Senior leadership teams that have high trust are a catalyst for the entire organization to work more effectively together.

You build trust. One aspect to consider is how we speak to others. Here are skills to practice that will enhance trust:

  • Come from a place of peace. In every interaction think about how you can work together better to achieve great results. Be willing to see things from another’s perspective. The key is to choose to be at peace, not angry or emotional.
  • Take time to get to know people and build rapport. Don’t jump in before everyone is on the same wavelength.
  • Appreciate that there is often a gap between what I think I say and what is received and interpreted by the other person. Pentagon spokesperson, Robert McCloskey said “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard was not what I meant.” How often does this gap cause trust issues?
  • Spend time planning before communicating something important.
  • Ask powerful discovery questions to unearth the true meaning that people are trying to convey. Sometimes we have to dig five levels deep to find the nugget.
  • Allow equal opportunity for all to share their thoughts and ideas.
  • Listen with an open mind and empathy. Preconceived notions hinder building trust. Put them away.
  • Listen with your eyes to ensure that the message has been clearly received.
  • Pay full attention. Focus on the person while they are speaking  –  no computers or phones at the same time.
  • Be respectful when you choose to challenge someone’s ideas or suggestions. Make it an open discussion and not two people against each other.
  • Think WinWin and reinforce successes. Focus on what success looks like and how to work together. Be we-centric versus I-centric. We-centric creates growth; innovation; mutual agreement and support; and ultimately valuable conversation.
  • Clarify your message. If it is not clearly understood the first time, dramatize it. Tell a story or show a picture.  Make it real to the person receiving the message.

When communication happens in this way team members become partners and not adversaries. Trust will be created and results achieved.

Well worth reading on this topic:

Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser

The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger institute