I often hear clients say “I can’t work with so-and-so until I can trust them.” Unfortunately, there is no way to build trust except to interact. Here are four ways of interacting that build trust quickly:
Adapted from the work of Jack Gibb
1. Model acceptance.
Behave as if you trust the other person. Manage meetings in a way that is respectful of differences, and encourages open dialogue. Be mindful of the impact that different work styles have on different people.
2. Share information.
Expect several meetings for sharing information. If you believe you know about this person and his/her organization, then ask questions to help you know more in detail. Avoid assumptions. Set a norm for information sharing by being appropriately open about yourself and your organization.
3. Make decisions together.
Start by making small, inconsequential decisions together: when will we meet? Where will we meet? Set ground rules for making more important decisions, and post those rules in the meeting room as a reminder. Allow enough time to make quality decisions together, but do not expect consensus on a regular basis. Use your conflict management skills.
4. Be authentic.
Work relationships based on trust are built one interaction at a time. Strive to be conscious of your reactions during meetings and dialogues, and provide feedback honest responses in a professional and respectful manner.