Building Credibility and Trust

In Tuesday’s blog, I wrote about creating your role based on feedback from key stakeholders and progressively evolving it to maximize your business impact.

So, you have taken the time to listen to the stakeholders.  What next?  The stakeholders will be looking at you to follow through on this feedback.  You need to start establishing your credibility.  You have to demonstrate that you can be trusted to get the job done and deliver the goods.   And, you need to do this in a way that builds your credibility and improves trust.

Here are some tips for building your credibility and trust:

1. Learn well, learn quickly

When we change jobs, there is a tremendous amount to learn.  Everyone around us is very busy.  We need to produce results quickly… without taking up the time of everyone around us to ‘show us the ropes’.  We need to demonstrate our capacity for learning and being able to contribute meaningfully to our team as quickly possible.  How is this tied to trust?  Very simply, you can be trusted to accelerate your learning curve.  The company has placed a bet on you by hiring you into the role.  The first test is the learning curve.

2. Offer to help and then follow through

For example, someone in your peer team may be experiencing challenges in hiring.  You may know of some good candidates.  Pass this information along.  You have immediately added some value and deposited some coins in your trust-bank. 

3. Be accountable

If you are responsible for doing something, follow through.  It is as simple as that.  If you say that you will send someone an email or introduce them to someone, follow through.  It is amazing how many people say they will do something and not follow through.  It is easy to forget.  And guess what happens?  You lose credibility and trust. By consistently following through (all through your career – but, especially in the early stages of starting a new job), you build trust. 

4. Draw on your previous experiences to help solve problems

Each team has a myriad of problems and issues that need to be addressed.  The fact that you are new to the team means you can see things differently.  This new perspective is often the catalyst to address long standing problems.  Figure out which set of problems you can help address. Do not go into this on your own, and try to ‘clean up the mess’ that exists.  Use this opportunity to build bridges and come up with a joint plan.  You will build credibility by addressing the problem, and more importantly you will build trust because you brought your team into the problem solving process.

5. Be emotionally tuned in & Patient

Not all your conversations with the stakeholders will go well.  Some may not want to deal with you.  Others may be thrilled to meet you and easy to win over.  The fact is you will meet a spectrum of individuals, and any one of them could be having a bad day and be turned off by your presence.  To win trust, you need to be emotionally tuned into the situation at hand.  You can’t go into a discussion ‘with an agenda to build trust or build a relationship’.  These things take time, and if your instincts are telling you something off, then close the discussion and try again later.

I’ve used these tips in settling into my current job.  I am sure many of you have your own tips for building trust and it would be great if you can share them!

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