Hooded or “hoody” sweatshirts have been the focus of conversation in the news lately and much of it is not very positive. I happen to like hoodies. I proudly wear my Gator hoody quite a bit in the fall and winter. At the same time, I understand that part of what makes a hoody terrific is its ability to shield your head from the elements. In doing so it can also cloak your identity and intentions.
I just read an interesting article on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network titled “For People to Trust You, Reveal Your Intentions” that made me think of hoodies. While the article focuses on leadership and how managers can foster the trust they need to influence employees, the message is also very relevant to other relationships. Consider what it takes for a professional services firm to grow clients or attract a new ones. It takes fostering trust and Hill and Lineback suggest that starts with revealing intentions. They share three ways to convince others of your sincerity.
- Talk explicitly about your intentions — what’s important to you, the goals you seek, the values and motives that guide your actions and decisions.
- Integrity. Walk the talk. Keep your word. Be sure that what you say is consistent with what you do. This will prove your authenticity.
- Consistency. The intentions you speak about and practice should be the same from day to day, from person to person, from situation to situation.
They also talk about why it’s critical to take steps to reveal your motives and values and to open yourself up for others to see inside of you. In other words, be transparent. According to the authors, “Intentions are how we distinguish a villain from someone whose influence we accept, whom we move toward. Competence may be appealing, but intentions are what attract or repel us and foster trust or mistrust.”
Isn’t it aggravating to receive emails and/or phone calls that seem to take forever to get at what their intentions are? It does little to foster trust.
Face it, the proliferation of information available through the Internet has increased the transparency of our lives (personal and business) and created an environment where a certain level of transparency is expected, especially in business. Combine this with the sheer volume of and speed at which information flows on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, eMail, etc. and if there’s even a hint of hesitation to be transparent, you’ll most likely be an easily forgettable blip in their day.
The bottom line: If you want to attract and influence others, lead with those things that foster trust and that starts with removing your hoody.
How do you build trust?
Other articles about fostering trust: