Invest your time to build the trust

Another thing that I would like to add from my yesterday’s post is, in order for you to do that, first things first, you need to have trust. You need to build the trust. Without it, that’s when the conversations become fake and you may not get the best of it.

I like how David Maister, a former HBS professor and a distinguished consultant to professional service firms, define trust, as follows:

Trust = (credibility + reliability + intimacy) / self-interest 

  • Credibility is about trusting what a person says because they have a track record of telling the truth, the expertise and professionalism
  • Reliability is about trusting a person to do that they say they will do, and that they will do it
  • Intimacy is about trusting someone to care about your emotions and desires, and to treat your secrets (on what you think of colleagues, what’s happening at work etc) with confidence
  • Self-interest erodes trust, they see the people they work with as away of getting ahead

All the criteria of trust mentioned above, needs time to be built and earned. It’s a journey, a continuous process where you need to invest your time into. You need to be sincere, be interested about the other person, ask questions, listen and learn, and slowly open up. You can’t have all this in just 1 conversation. Once you get comfortable, you don’t even need to wait for the annual or semi-annual review cycle. For me that’s just a formality, by that time I would be like “ok what do we want to talk about? we talked so much already”.

And don’t worry, trust works both ways, the good bosses know the importance of having this conversation, they would want to spend time talking to you. It’s the human element at work that not any machine or algorithm can replace. But you need to approach them too. Most of the time, when you go to them, they will be very happy and open about it.

Think of it as conversation. Then you will feel less formal. The first time is usually the hardest time. But it gets easier over time. I’ve got one supervisor, we have different wavelengths, that person doesn’t always see how I see it and vice versa. But I took the initiative to get to know this person, understand this person’s thinking, how this person makes decisions. Eventually, I opened up, and the best part is, this person opened up too. The result? We enjoyed working together.

So, invest your time to build the trust. It will pay off one day.


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