office dynamics self care Feb 07, 2019

Have you ever had a work bestie who was truly trustworthy? Michelle, my work bestie from a few positions ago, was that friend for me. She was a great listener which came in handy for working out problems, both professionally and personally. I knew I could trust her not to repeat what was shared in confidence, and I’d like to think she could trust me also. She possessed a kindness and way about her that made her honesty digestible. That’s not to say that she was a pushover. As a military veteran, several executives we worked with held a respectable fear of her. Most of all, Michelle always did exactly what she said she would do. We are friends to this day because she was, and still is, the epitome of trustworthy.

How to Exude Trustworthiness

If you are hoping to increase trust with your executive and colleagues then it goes without saying that being trustworthy is a must. Webster defines the word trustworthy as, “Worthy of confidence.” As assistants, we can’t effectively do our jobs without the confidence of our employer, and it never hurts to win the confidence of our colleagues and coworkers as well.

In order to be “worthy of confidence” there are a few principles we all must adhere to:

1. Always be truthful and honest

2. Hold the same standards with everyone

3. Follow through on your commitments

4. Show compassion and grace to others

5. Don’t participate in gossip

6. Stop complaining

Check out the video below where I go into more detail on these 6 principals.

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Check out the transcription:

Hey there. I'm Annie of and today we are talking all about how to exude trustworthiness. So, I'm going to give you, walk you through six principles that I've found to be really helpful for me in gaining the trust of my boss. But first, let's define trustworthiness. Webster defines trustworthiness as worthy of confidence. And I think we all can agree that we would like to have the confidence of our executives and our colleagues. So, let's get started. Oh, just let me mention too that even if you possess these qualities already, it takes time. Building Trust takes time. And I'll never forget, I worked with a girl once who it took her over a year to get her executives ... to gain her executives' trust just because he was a very private person. So, even if you're doing all of these things, people take their time to trust, and it takes a lot of time sometimes. So, just to keep heart know that you're working towards something really great, a great relationship with your executive, and keep going.

So, the first quality I want to talk about is that trustworthy people always tell the truth. Now, this can be harder than it seems. You could be tactful when you tell the truth. You can be gentle, you can be kind, you can speak those words out of love. But ultimately you definitely want to always tell the truth and your executive, even if you have to be truthful with him with some hard things, he'll come back and he'll be like, "Oh, I can really trust this person and this person really has my back." And so bear that in mind. I'll never forget, I worked with an executive once who was going to be in closed-door meetings all day with clients, and her shoes smelled awful. Feet smelled awful. And it was on me to go tell that person the truth. And that was really hard. But in the end, I think she appreciated it because I was able to be gentle with her, and yet she was able to just go get a new pair of shoes.

It was fine. It was just the shoes that were old. So, that's an example of when it can be hard, to tell the truth, but you will ... What it does is it shows integrity and it shows that you're in it for the long haul, and that you really do have your executives' best interests at heart. And then the second ...

So, the first one is always telling the truth. The second quality is to hold the same standard of conduct with everybody. You want to treat everybody with the same level of respect and dignity, from the janitor all the way up to the CEO. This too shows integrity and it shows that you can be trusted. And also it's helpful in developing those relationships because we don't just interact with executives. We also interact with vendors, with the janitorial staff from time to time. So, building those relationships, being truthful and honest and trustworthy, and treating them with the same level of respect to you would your CEO is just as important. And it's an often overlooked quality when it comes to trustworthiness, but it's one worth mentioning because it really can go a long way in developing the trust of everybody you interact with on a daily basis.

The third thing is following through with your commitments. This one should be pretty obvious, but it's my MO now to always under-promise and over-deliver. Be where you say you're going to be when you say you're going to be there. Do what you say you're going to do by the time you say you're going to do it. So, be sure you're setting realistic expectations for everyone around you. I know it can seem a little daunting, and we often want to make sure that we're going to ... We often want to make sure, we often want ... We often try to appease people by saying that we'll get something done by a certain time, knowing that that's not the case. Knowing that you're going to need extra time. So, be really clear in setting your expectations for everybody around you with regards to work commitments, with regards to time commitments, with regards to project timelines and that sort of thing. You want to make sure you under promise and over-deliver, because that will make you worthy of confidence. Nothing, nothing ...

What will not make you worthy of confidence is to over promise and under deliver. So we want to be aware of those dynamics even though we're just trying to please people in the moment by saying, "Yes, I can do that." If you really can't do that, then set a realistic timeline or tell them what you can do instead.

Okay. The fourth thing is to show compassion and grace to others. Earlier when I was talking about saying the truth, I said that we need to say the truth, but we can be gentle with the truth. And showing compassion and grace to others will instill trust in your colleagues, will instill trust in with your executive. So, we all know how far a little bit of compassion can go in creating and fostering trust with us. I know for me, whenever somebody is especially gracious to me, or especially kind, that I trust that person even more than I did before. So, keep that in mind. If you want to get the trust of your executive and you and your colleagues, be sure to show some compassion and show that you really do have their best interests at heart that way.

And then the fifth thing is really important in instilling confidence and trust. And that is don't participate in gossip. Gossip tears people down. And so you know you've crossed over the gossip line when you ask yourself, "What is the purpose of what we're doing here?" And if it's unproductive or tearing somebody down, then that's gossip, and it's going to be unhelpful for you and establishing trust, and it can actually tear apart trust. I know a girl who got fired for gossip early, early on in her career. And she said it was a great life lesson for her. But man, we've got to watch that guys, because nothing can break confidence faster than gossip.

So, if you find yourself in one of those sticky situations, here's what I would suggest to you too. I would suggest you ... Say somebody comes over here to your desk and starts trying to engage in gossip. You can simply look at them and be like, "I'm sorry, I'm really busy. Is there something I can help you with?" Or not, "I'm sorry," but, "I'm busy. Is there something I can really help you with?" And that will go a long way in just shutting it down.

And then the sixth and final tip I have for you guys in gaining your executives' and colleagues' trust is stop complaining. When we're in a constant mode of complaining. It does not establish trust. It breaks trust just like gossip does. So, if you're always complaining about doing your job, if you're always complaining about your executive changing his travel plans, and I know that can be frustrating. And sometimes it just takes getting the right outlet to talk through those things. But if it's not a productive talk, then it shouldn't be happening. If it will make you feel worse and not better then it shouldn't be happening. So, make sure that you watch the complaining because I think often we'll just go there.

We'll just go there because we're venting or whatever. But we need to watch that and make sure that it's productive and that once you've talked it through, then you let go of it.

And so yeah, those are my tips for exuding trustworthiness. If you have any additional tips, I would love to hear them. Please leave a comment below or drop me a note on Instagram or Facebook or YouTube. And I look forward to being in like live next week where I'll be discussing another amazing subject. So I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week, and I will talk with you soon.


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