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How to build trusting business relationships?

“People buy from people they trust” we’re confidently advised. How do we know when trust is evident? What reliable measure is there to guide us?

When exploring inter-personal relationships at work we have to acknowledge that without tangible trust the likelihood of any relationship being truly successful and achieving great results is very low. In Patrick Lencioni’s revealing book ‘The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team’, the absence of trust is the very foundation of a team’s dysfunctions. All the other dysfunctions evolve from the inability for parties to successfully trust each other; avoidance of conflict (challenge), lack of commitment, lack of accountability and inattention to results.

For managers and leaders in any organisation wanting to develop high-performing teams the question has to be how do you know when you’ve authentically and confidently developed trust with your people and your stakeholders?

When we’re asked to describe a successful relationship of any sort, be it work or domestic – TRUST is frequently the first component we think of. In theory then, we should be able to easily identify the components of TRUST with no problem…right? Here’s the irony; when I was first asked, I struggled to get it! Something so vital to all my relationships and I couldn’t fully define it. Instinctively we know when it’s present, and when its not, yet is that a good enough yardstick? I don’t think so. In the hectic, busy, demanding lives we all lead we need something more tangible, more reliable, more consistent.

“What makes up Trust? What are the behavioural components that need to be present for us to feel that the other person is trust-worthy?”

At Corporate Drama the model we work with is the trust triangle. 3 equal components, which have to be present, for trust to be fully evident.

I suspect you’ve already got 2 out of the 3 without any effort whatsoever.

Let’s check:

I think you got INTEGRITY or something similar? Being true and honest; demonstrating your values. Being principled and sincere.

And I think you got CREDIBILITY or something similar? Being sound, reliable, believable, a specialist or expert in a given field perhaps.

And the 3rd equal component is? Frequently on our programmes this is one of those light bulb “of course!” moments.

RAPPORT! The authentic words, tone, body language, intent, energy and presence we bring when we make a connection with others. Using our emotional intelligence. Sounds easy when you read the list. Doing it consistently and with awareness can be a whole other leadership challenge.

Here’s the complete TRUST TRIANGLE model.

I find it very revealing that when we think of business relationships we don’t instinctively think of building high-quality rapport, and trust. We think of integrity and credibility first.

Ironic too when we’re running role-play exercises, particularly ‘REAL-PLAY’ where we’re using the participant’s own leadership scenario, how many participants choose to omit any rapport-building at the start of a challenging stakeholder conversation. We notice the difference to the quality and outcome of that conversation when they do.

Developing the ability to build authentic high-quality rapport is an essential leadership skill. These relationships are where employees feel actively engaged, trusted and appreciated.

Here at Corporate Drama we develop authentic leaders, managers and teams. Our programmes re-energise, re-focus and re-engage your people. We dramatically transform workplace training leaving a measurable, visible impact throughout your entire organisation.

How can we help you and your people?

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