How Do YOU Show Up?: A Holistic Look at the Trust Equation, Part 2

Intraoffice trust can be grown when you acquire a baseline assessment of your coworkers’ trustworthiness, and combine it with a wide, historical lens through which to view them individually. My recent article illustrated this process by proposing a familiar-sounding scenario designed to recalibrate your trust-detecting mechanisms (remember Joe?) Trust, however, is a two-way street. So as you’re becoming tuned into the inner workings of workplace trust, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a candid, non-judgmental look at your own trustworthiness, including how you come off in the eyes of others.

It’s Not Me. It’s The Circumstance.

To get an accurate idea of how trustworthy you likely appear, ask yourself: Are your colleagues seeing you as you intend to show up? Are you thinking one thing and projecting another, even inadvertently? Answering with an honest “Yes” might sound like a natural matter of being, but getting there is easier said than done. We each have our blind spots, after all, rendering us our own worst enemy at times. Perhaps Charles H. Green of expanded on this concept most appropriately when he wrote:

“True credibility comes from letting people see you as you are—not as you would wish they would see you. Transparency trumps expertise. The more you insist on how much you know, the less we believe you….No one expects an advisor or salesperson to be perfect—we just want to know where their biases or blind spots lie, whether they know their own biases – and whether they’re capable of admitting them.”

By scrutinizing yourself to these standards, you’ve seized the opportunity to make changes resulting in a more transparent YOU. The ironic truth is that I’ve met very few untrustworthy people during my years in business; but due to the uninformed manner in which some folks present themselves, I’m constantly hearing reports of how distrustful they are perceived to be. It’s not the person necessarily, but the circumstance, that informs our attitude.

A Personal Baseline

It is entirely possible to be brutally honest with yourself while still being self-compassionate. To run a little experiment assessing how you show up in the eyes of others without feeling like you’ve beaten yourself up, there are some specific questions that you should be asking yourself. Put yourself in the shoes of a particular colleague, and answer these questions about yourself as you would imagine the colleague would:

-When you speak, are you inclusive or exclusive?

 -Do you color your descriptions or shade the truth?

 -Do your words represent what you think and feel, or are you just going through the motions?

 -Do you follow through on the things you say?

 -Are you respectful of others when you speak to them or about them?

 -Can colleagues count on you to pull your weight?

 -Can others count on you to be on time, or do they expect you to be late?

 -Do you make people feel safe in conversation, knowing that what they say remains with you in confidence?

 -Can folks trust you to be “hard on the problem, soft on the person”?

 -Can people trust you not to expose or exploit their vulnerabilities?

 -Are you a “What’s In It For Me” person, or do you think about the team and their collective goals?

 -How do you act under pressure?

 -Are you able to effectively communicate to others that you “need a moment” to yourself?

Moving Forward

Answering all the questions honestly should provide you with a baseline for yourself, preparing you to reach out and ask people how you come across. This move will not only let you compare “the results”, but it will allow you to express vulnerability, which is fundamental to being a powerful collaborative force.

This assessment of self and others is not a snapshot exercise, but a personal “scan” to be performed perpetually. As a detached, methodical, non-emotional check-in, it’s a good way for you to feel socially safe in your career and avoid the stress of paranoia. You’ll be better prepared to be mindful and remain in the present with your workplace contributions, not feeling preoccupied by thinking about what MAY happen in the future. Consider this challenge of trust to be the prerequisite to tackling the skills of focus and engagement, which will be the new goal going forward.