By: Kathy Kent Toney, President of Kent Business Solutions
As a business leader, you’ve most likely encountered situations where you’ve had to deal with dishonest employees. As professionals, we can all admit to times where we've had to curb dishonest impulses in our lives.
It’s certainly not easy navigating these waters, so here are four tips to help you build trustworthiness, either for coaching employees or for yourself:
1. Choose the Path of Integrity
Some people already have good moral habits, such as being honest, keeping confidences, refraining from gossip, and apologizing when appropriate. It may be more natural for them to live lives of integrity.
On the other hand, some people have ingrained habits that lead to poor choices that compromise integrity.
In the end, know that it’s a choice. Choosing to be a person of integrity may be the first step for some because, unfortunately, they may not want to be persons of integrity. That’s why they need to make that choice!
Retraining the brain can also prove helpful for those who experience difficulty stopping negative thoughts before taking action on them. It involves taking those thoughts captive that lead to poor choices and then acting oppositely to make more positive choices instead. It may take a while to make this more of a habit, but it can prove effective in the end.
2. Follow Through with Commitments
Good leaders and professionals do what they say they are going to do.
There are a couple of ways to look at why this is difficult for people. Some people may overcommit themselves and are unable to complete all that's on their plate. Perhaps they routinely take on too many projects to prove to a superior that they are ambitious and a good employee. There are usually root issues related to this type of behavior. Finding the drivers behind the behavior and addressing them can help with over-commitment issues.
Another reason could be that some people struggle with managing bandwidth. They may not know how much work they can take on. Perhaps an informal or formal time study of how much time they spend on projects could yield some insight to help with future planning.
3. Be Transparent
The best pathway to transparency is to be authentic. People value real people. When employees or leaders hide behind a façade, not knowing who the person truly is can limit trust.
If you or an employee is struggling with being transparent, a root issue could be a lack of self-acceptance. Many people put on masks because they don't think people will accept them if they are themselves.
The best thing a person can do is realize they are a person of value and that even their weaknesses are just growth opportunities. Having an attitude that "this is who am I am" and embracing their weaknesses can lead to greater transparency.
Strengthening trustworthiness takes time and due diligence. Test driving these tips could very well help you on your journey to getting there!
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