07 March 2019

Four phrases that inspire trust

As a manager, you want your people to trust you and follow your leadership. This enables you to help them perform well and enhance the productivity of your company.

But did you know that the words you use every day greatly impact how people respond to you and by extension, how much they feel they can depend on you? Because of this, knowing which words will encourage people to trust you is a critical communication skill. Here are four powerful phrases that can help you inspire trust in the workplace:

“Thank you.”

A leader who never recognizes other people’s efforts is likely to be seen as self-centered, whereas one who acknowledges other people’s input is more likely to be seen as dependable. That’s why it’s important to always thank your team members for their efforts, time, or attention.

“I’m listening.”

It’s no coincidence that this phrase was made famous by the award-winning sitcom Frasier. In each episode, radio psychiatrist Frasier Crane would encourage callers to share their troubles on-air by saying, “I’m listening.” Of course, it’s not your job to listen to your employees’ psychological woes. Nevertheless, the catchphrase is just as appropriate in a professional setting because it communicates to the other person that he or she has your full attention and can expect your best input in return.

“I understand.”

When an employee comes to you with a concern, take the time to listen and engage in meaningful dialogue in order to truly understand where he or she is coming from. As Nan S. Russell points out in her article titled “25 Simple Trust Building Behaviors” for Psychology Today, you need to withhold judgment during this process. If you can do this, you show that you’re empathetic – and that will encourage your people to trust you.

“I trust your judgement.”

If you really want to inspire trust, you need to demonstrate your confidence in your employees’ capabilities. Be wary of overusing this phrase, as it’s only appropriate when an employee’s skill level and knowledge merits your confidence and you intend on following through on your words. If you say you trust someone’s judgement and then second guess them, it will not only undermine any relationship you’ve built with that person; it can also make other employees less likely to trust you.

The key when using any of these phrases is to realize that words alone are not enough: Your tone of voice, body language, and subsequent actions are just as important. However, when you use these phrases in the right context and mean what you say, you’ll show yourself to be an honest communicator and approachable, trustworthy leader.