If you want to influence anyone, trust is imperative.
People only follow people they trust, regardless of titles.
When you have the privilege of leading or mentoring others, trust is your bedrock to success. If you attempt to lead or mentor without it, you breed micromanagement, resentment, dis-involvement, and even active disruption.
Here are 7 ways to accelerate and strengthen the trust you need in order to lead others:
1. Commonalities:: When we discover something in common, we feel connected. Commonalities bond people automatically. I love dogs. So I am instantly more trusting of others who love dogs. Seek out common grounds.
2. Interest:: When we sincerely seek to learn about someone else, to appreciate our diversity, to understand their choices, experiences, and situations, we fuel trust. When we lack interest, however, we feed assumptions, judgments, and even prejudices – theirs and ours. Express a sincere interest in your differences.
3. Compassion:: When we offer empathy rather than indifference, we kindle trust. Before thrusting a change onto people, we need to first meet them where they are. Be empathic and understanding.
4. Experiences:: When we have experiences with others – projects, workshops, off-sites, retreats, community volunteering – we strengthen trust. There is a reason we still have those friends from high school. Our lives may be completely different now, but the experiences we shared as teenagers bonded us. Intentionally create experiences to bring you together.
5. Vulnerability:: When we share something personal or reveal some fears or aspirations, our vulnerability invites theirs, which promotes trust. We trust people who are genuine and we disconnect from people who are inauthentic. Drop your defenses and expose your authenticity.
6. Integrity:: When we do the right thing even when no one is looking, when we share credit for an idea or the success of a project, when we follow up as we promised, we operate with integrity. And people trust people with integrity. Our lies, however – even little white lies – will invalidate that trust. Demonstrate honesty of character.
7. Consistency:: When we execute, when we communicate, when we show up, time and time again, people trust us. Our consistency accelerates trust. Exhibit consistent actions.
If you want to up-level your influence, start with trust.
If trust was easy to generate, it wouldn’t be so valuable.