Leaders Build Trust by Talking Straight

The Second Wave: Relationship Trust

Building the Wave of Relationship Trust requires deliberate trust-building behaviors.

We will start with some character-based behaviors, such as straight talk, showing respect, being transparent, righting wrongs, and showing loyalty. We’ll also explore the “counterfeit” versions of these behaviors. A counterfeit behavior is one that looks like the trust-building behavior, but instead of building trust, this behavior is distorted into something that tears trust down.

This week: Talk Straight.

In essence, talking straight is being honest and telling the full truth. Make sure people know where you stand using clear language. Call things what they are and avoid jargon. Don’t spin or distort or leave false impressions, which can manipulate others.

The opposite of talking straight is deliberate deception. Deliberate deception is rare, but the counterfeit version, Spinning, is quite common.

Clever people (or what Lencioni calls skillful politicians) can look like they’re talking straight while they are positioning, posturing, beating around the bush, double-talking, and using too much corporate-speak. You can technically be telling the truth and leaving the wrong impression.

What to do instead?

Say things like this:

  • Here’s how I see the situation…
  • This is what I feel strongly about…
  • I suggest we do the following…
  • These are the facts as I see them…
  • From my perspective…
  • I respect you and want to talk straight with you.
  • My intent is to be candid with you.
  • Please let me share what I’ve observed…
  • This is what I understand…

Keep it clear. Talk Straight to build trust.

Next week: Demonstrate Respect

Thanks for reading,

Alan Feirer

See more blog posts on The Speed of Trust.

#1: Leaders Invest in Trust
#2: Credibility Gaps: Leaders Know the Waves of Trust
#3: Behavior, Credibility, and the Wrong Kinds of Trust
#4: Leaders Know Credibility is Driven by Behavior
#5: Build Trust by Talking Straight
#6: Leaders Build Trust by Demonstrating Respect

See more blog posts on The Speed of Trust.

#1: Leaders Invest in Trust
#2: Credibility Gaps: Leaders Know the Waves of Trust
#3: Behavior, Credibility, and the Wrong Kinds of Trust
#4: Leaders Know Credibility is Driven by Behavior

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