We all want to be trusted – and we all know whom we trust. But have you thought about why you trust the people you do? And what does that mean for how you can secure the trust of others, in you?
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We trust what is familiar to us. So, the more that people get to know you, the better they will trust you. Build relationships and invest in them. Fewer, stronger relationships are better: others will trust the judgments of the people that they trust, so your reputation will spread.
While familiarity is important, more so is the extent to which people find your behaviors familiar – what you do today must be consistent with what you did yesterday. This allows us the confidence to predict what you will do tomorrow. The need for this is why we tend to distrust people who do not conform to society’s norms of behavior, in the absence of other compelling reasons why we should trust them.
Your ability to do what you are supposed to be able to do is vital. Nobody will trust you if they feel your skills are lacking. Invest in getting good – no, excellent – at what you do. Then, look for opportunities to demonstrate this and secure testimonials from other experts to endorse your abilities.
Being able to do what you say you can is one thing: but if you say that you will do it; do I feel that you will? Show your commitment – and not just with enthusiastic words, but in deeds. Saying you will do the washing up (later) is very different from going over to the sink and filling it with hot water (now). We won’t trust you if we don’t believe we can rely on you.
I can trust you with certain tasks, even if I know you don’t care about me or the things/people I value. But when I do believe you care, then my trust will be far more open-ended and can extend beyond specific situations into many areas of my professional and private life.
Are your activities directed by a simple compass with a clear direction towards an ethical value set? If they are, then I will be able to expect consistency (which I trust) and, to the extent that I find your compass aligns with my own, I will also trust and value your judgments in a new situation.
Are you able to show the clarity of thought and objectivity that allow for wise judgments in challenging situations? Your history of choices, decisions, and judgments will be a vital part of my assessment of how much to trust you. Therefore, taking time to weigh your judgments and to evaluate the world objectively is an investment in trust.
And, if your judgments are good, to what extent do you follow them up with consistent action? Or do you sometimes back away from doing what is right, because it is hard, or uncomfortable? Taking the right path and treating people well is “fairness”.
Many of you will have know that ‘integrity’ is one of my favorite words. Is it possible to over-use a word for such a valuable concept?
So why is it not on my list? For one simple reason: it is. What is left in the definition of integrity that is not a part of caring, consistency, compass, commitment, and follow-through?
From the same language root as integrity come ‘integrate’ – to make into a whole – and ‘integer’ – whole, untouched. Put all my eight elements together, and what do you get? What is it that we trust in someone? Integrity.
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I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own.
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Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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