I find that healthy relationships are important to my happiness and wellbeing. We are social animals, hard-wired neurologically to be social and to thrive in communities. That’s why I make it a priority to spend time with my family, be part of a women’s barbershop chorus, nurture my friendships, and collaborate with partners in my work. Do you find this true for yourself?
Healthy relationships, whether they are with individuals or groups at home, friendships or at work, must be based on trust. Trust takes time to build and just seconds to damage. Conversations are the way we generate trust and actions are the way to sustain it.
Judith Glaser offers a trust checklist in her recent book, Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results.
Here are the 5 ways to build trust:
1. Transparency: This is the quality of being upfront in your communication – not attempting to hide anything. Sometimes, this gets confused with vulnerability, which involves exposing the tender places we are feeling deeply. There’s inherent risk involved; there’s a possibility you may be hurt, but mutual trust can open the door for being vulnerable.
2. Relationship: Forge connections with others in the spirit of partnership and making commitments to work together toward a common purpose. Disclosing your needs and asking what the other needs is a good way to approach this.
3. Understanding: This means understanding reality from the other’s perspective. This requires a mindset of curiosity and patience to listen through their point of view. Paraphrasing what you heard the other say will let them know that you got what they meant. Then, move to strategies, problem solving, or decision making.
4. Shared success: Discuss a vision of what success would mean and look like for both of you. This can mean thinking together about how to make the goals a reality. This is also the foundation for aligning on the purpose and goals of your relationship and your work together.
5. Truth telling and testing assumptions: Make a continuing practice of comparing your perspectives of reality and closing any gaps. This also involves noticing the difference between opinion and facts. Test your assumptions by verifying them with your partner.
I find that expressing gratitude and appreciation for others helps to generate good feelings between you and promotes the deepening of a healthy relationship. Make your relationships the best yet this year!