People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. – John Maxwell
Trust comes from motivation and competence. When people believe you are for the things they are for, and when they believe you can do the things you say you can do, they begin to trust.
The first challenge for building trust lies with the motivation gap – the gap between what you are working for and what others are working for. You might think motivations are the same, but we have problems with this ourselves. All you need to do is look at your checkbook or your waistline. You want to be fit, but there’s also that half-gallon of ice cream in the freezer calling your name. We all live with internal gaps between our short-term desires and our long-term objectives.
Motivation gaps exist everywhere. Your team members are working toward goals. You are working toward goals. Your leaders are working toward goals and your organization is working toward goals. Your vendors are too, and so are your internal or external customers. The more people and goals are involved the greater the chances for conflict and a breakdown in trust.
CARE – Four steps to close the Motivation Gap
Caring dissolves the tangle of motivation gaps. When we care for someone, we appreciate the things that are important to them. We don’t necessarily agree, but awareness and understanding bring clarity to the gap between what they want and what we think we want.
How can you eliminate the gaps and show your stakeholders how much you care? Four ideas come to mind:
If others aren’t important to you, eventually the truth will be known. You must begin to appreciate people. Develop a genuine appreciation for the contributions they bring. The harder this is for you, the greater your problem, not theirs. Take time every day to notice and appreciate people. Stop focusing on the goal and burn your mental energy thinking about your people. Do you know their kid’s names or their parents? We all want to be known. You can not care for someone you don’t know.
A question is an admission of a desire to know something you don’t know. So many a proud person won’t ask because they don’t want to admit they do not know. But there is no shame in learning. Focus on the result, that you will know your teammates better, and ask. People appreciate your desire to know more than they focus on what you didn’t know. (And yes, I’m still guilty of this. We’re all in process…)
Nothing shows insincerity more than asking the same question over and over again. If people are important to you, then remember it. Do you remember your golf score better than you remember your teammate’s birthdays, that’s a sign. You will remember the things that are important to you. Once you train yourself to appreciate people, it will begin to get easier but old habits die hard.
Act on what you know. Is it their birthday? Say so. Give them a card. Did they tell you their mom was ill? Put it on your calendar to ask them how she’s doing. Action proves motive and knowledge. If you don’t act on the information you have you blow the entire effort.
The first step in building trust is to remember the acronym CARE: Care, Ask Remember and Engage. These begin building the trust necessary for any great team accomplishments. Caring is the just the first step. Trust also involves competence. But people won’t care how good you are until they know how much you care either.
Mike Henry Sr. is the founder of the Lead Change Group, an affiliation of leadership professionals applying character-based leadership to make a positive difference. Check out the Lead Change blog to learn more.