Today I want to talk about trust. Trust is a super broad topic, so the focus for this episode, is about trust in the workplace.
And to be even more specific. I want to talk about trust as it pertains to it being a soft-skill you must have and subsequently develop as a designer. This is something you can focus on building anywhere. You can build this skill at an in-house design team, a design agency, or as a freelance designer.
I will talk you through how to develop and focus on this soft-skill. The key take-aways that will be synthesised for you will come from my own experiences, Travis’s insights, and some research I have done for you on the glorious internet.
So Travis, what does trust look like when it’s done right? What does trust look like when it’s done wrong?
What do you do to build trust in the workplace? or better yet, what have you done in the past and what are you actively doing now? The key-word here, is that building trust, is an active experience.
Ok, awesome answers. If I can give you only one take-away, it is that I want you all to positively influence trust in your teams.
And since I mentioned previously that trust is an active experience, here is how you can actively start a conversation with your team before a project, during a project, or even after a project.
Eight things you can do to be a positive influence for trust in your teams. These eight things can all be a conversation starter with your team, however, before you use each one of these topics as a conversation piece with your team, you must first lead by example. So here they are.
- Clarity - Your goal is to be as transparent and open as possible with your team. You want to avoid uncertainty or vagueness as it pertains to you. Remember, as I have said before, every interaction is a brand-interaction. So what does this look like? In a simple example I have experienced myself, if I am about to miss a deadline, I’ll make sure my team knows that as soon as I know it. I’ll let them know that I need help. I have also had times when a project has been assigned to me and it’s the first time I am doing a task, this for example can be, managing an outside agency to help design something. I’ll let the team know that I haven’t done this before and I’m excited to learn and that I will lean on those that know what they are doing if I run into any problems.
- Connection - It is natural for people to follow others and build relationships. What can you do to connect and engage with your team? What can you do to improve relationships and reduce conflicts? For example, you can set up a team outing and get to know the people you are working with outside work, or set up a time to play a board game, or set up what I have taken for myself, a “cuddle session” where you meet for 30 minutes and talk about each others weekends.
- Compassion - We need to care about each other. How are you showing concern for your team? What are you doing to be compassionate and empathetic to your team? For example, when you can tell someone is frustrated with something, don’t wait for them to ask for help. Walk over, look over their shoulder and see if you can help. Even if you can’t the mere fact of you walking over will give them some encouragement and solidarity in the problem or frustration they are experienceing.
- Value - People love to support and be around people that have the same values. What are you doing to help each other align on values. These values don’t need to be moral values, they can be workplace values, or project specific values. So before you start a project, you can create Rules of Engagement. A list of values you all create together. For example, one can be this, if you need help, ask for it!
- Competency - We have confidence in those who stay fresh, innovative and competent. What are you doing to grow your competency? In a previous episode, I spoke about building self-confidence and how it’s a by product of two other skills. The first is, understanding where your strengths and weaknesses are and compare that to what your peers think. The second is focusing, on narrowing the delta between the two. Have you spent time being introspective?
- Integrity - We trust those who demonstrate a commitment to action. How can you take responsibility and fulfil it? When you raise your hand to get something done, are you committed to see it through?
- Contribution - We are all motivated and engaged when we deliver results. People trust results. Are you consistently getting things done?
- Consistency - We love consistency. We are creatures of habit. Are you consistently delivering on what you set out to do? Is your teams trust and confidence rising or falling in your ability to consistently get things done?
- What else is important to you?
Now after you have gone through all of these you will have an accurate picture of where you stand in providing and increasing trust within your team. Once you have an accurate picture you can switch these questions towards your team. For example, you would set up a meeting for an hour with your team before a project or during a project and let everyone know that you are going to run a