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Change: How can I build trust?

When we are working with our friends, partners, coalition and team members during this time of tremendous change, we have an opportunity to improve our relationships and build trust. Both Stephen Covey (Emotional Bank Account) and Brené Brown (marble jar) provide some fantastic analogies on building trust and in this week’s post, we are going to utilize the “Emotional Bank Account” analogy from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Basically, the Emotional Bank Account concept highlights the amount of trust in a relationship. When we are courteous, respectful, kind, keep commitments, etc., we are putting “deposits” in the bank account and creating a “high-trust” relationship. When we are disrespectful, unkind, don’t follow through with commitments, make things all about ourselves, we are taking ‘withdrawals’ from the emotional bank account resulting in a “low-trust” relationship. He emphasizes that the people we interact with most often require more constant “investments.”  Join me this week as I encourage you to reflect on 3 questions related to building trust with your partners and coalition members (and maybe family members and friends too!).

  1. What are some recent examples of trust “deposits” you have provided in your relationships? Really seeking to understand another person is most important when it comes to trust “deposits.” In order to make a deposit, you must understand what is important to that other person. And It’s the small things that make a big difference when it comes to trust. Showing kindness, courtesy, and respect; practicing empathy; keeping commitments and promises; clarifying expectations; showing integrity; and sincerely apologizing when you make a withdrawal are a few examples of “deposits.” Take some time to reflect upon deposits you have provided to your partners as well as the deposits that others have given to you.
  2. What are some recent examples of trust “withdrawals” you have demonstrated in your relationships? Once again, when we understand what is important to another person, we also recognize what would be a “withdrawal” from her perspective. A few examples of withdrawals include: making things all about you; practicing sympathy vs. empathy (e.g. saying At least…); being disrespectful; not following through with commitments and promises; being unclear; choosing to be silent when you could speak up; refusing to apologize; betraying another person’s confidence. Take some time to reflect upon the withdrawals you have taken from your partners as well as withdrawals that have been most impactful toward you.
  3. What are some practical ways you are going to build trust in your relationships? As a reminder, it’s the little things demonstrated over time that builds trust. A few practical ideas include: writing a personal thank you note; checking in with your partners when you know something significant is happening/has happened; recognize specific contribution of your partners (in ways they can appreciate…not always in a group setting if they don’t like the attention!); be considerate; be courageously curious; and follow-through with what you say you will do. There are many more and you may have some ideas that are unique to your situation and your relationships. I encourage you to consider ways you can build trust this week with some of your most important relationships. 

If you haven’t yet, check out my worksheet on Change Management Reflection. This resource can help you throughout this blog series.

So what about you? What are some practical ways you are going to build trust with your partners and most important relationships?

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Photo by lauren lulu taylor on Unsplash

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