Building Trust

Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships. - Stephen R. Covey

Whether you're leading others or following others lead, to be successful at your job, one learn to communicate effectively.  And at the foundation of effective communication is trust.  Here are a few thoughts on how to build trust as it relates to communication:

Choose your mediums carefully: A text message is a great way to communicate quickly, but it's a horrible way to communicate criticism.  A group e-mail is an excellent way to get a message to multiple people at once, but it's a horrible medium to single out poor performance.  Choose the most effective way to communicate, not the most efficient.

Consider your tone and direction:  This is especially important when speaking to someone face-to-face. When delivering messages, remember what you’re trying to accomplish and how you may come across. Frame your wording to achieve this goal; instead of scolding or reprimanding, use a friendlier tone with a corrective direction. You’ll accomplish far more, make your intentions clear and preserve morale this way.

Be as concise as possible: Good leaders strive to remain as concise as possible. Speaking and writing concisely is all about conveying as much information as possible in the smallest possible space, which saves time and maximizes the effectiveness of your writing. 

Keep your messaging decisive and focused: When writing or giving a message, you need to be decisive and focused, which means avoiding rambling, or working through a problem out loud. Speak only when you have something meaningful to say, and make sure your point is clear to whomever you’re speaking with. 

Be proactive: Telling someone about a new project requirement isn’t effective if that someone is already halfway through the job. Try to be as proactive as possible by telling your employees early on what you expect from them. Set your expectations long before any actions are taken; and when something comes up, let your team know about it as soon as possible.

Always be available for conversation: This is important for building morale within your team. You can’t possibly be available for conversation 100 percent of the time, but you need to make your team feel comfortable communicating with you. Show patience and appreciation for their thoughts and opinions, and they’ll be more willing to share with you when they have a problem, when they need help or when they see something that can be improved.

Listen actively to every team member: Finally, listen actively to every member of your team. All team members are valuable, and their diverse range of opinions will open you up to new ideas and help you see flaws and inconsistencies you were previously blind to. Do this early and often to build trust within your team.

Remember, take responsibility for your communication.  Don't be lazy or careless, but considerate and consistent.