I’ve been reading the Harvard Business Review again, and I ran across an article on conveying and cultivating trustworthiness In the workplace. I felt like this was something I needed to read. After all, as a Revolutionary Assistant, I want people to understand that I’m trustworthy. I also need to make sure that I work with people I can trust, as we assistants always rely on others to get our work done.
But I also have to trust vendors, consultants…oh, the list goes on and on. How do I know when folks are being square with me? According to HBR contributing author David DeSteno, body language is a tell-tale sign.
But not really.
“All those books that promise to teach you how to spot a liar through body language?” DeSteno writes. “None has empirical support.” Still, when someone leans away from you, touches his hands or his face, or crosses his arms, this can be a sign that your trust is misplaced.
DeSteno and his team did a study that programmed a humanoid robot to perform these body cues with a perfection not found in actual humans, and test subjects reported that they thought the robot would cheat them. Of course, the test subjects were picking up on obvious signals, and humans would not be so consistent. “These findings demonstrate that we have built-in trust detectors,” DeSteno writes. It’s important to go with your gut feeling.
So, how do you foster trustworthiness, then? Well, it helps to be trustworthy yourself. You can:
Be careful of proprietary business information
Be careful of your own body language
Build a rapport with others, make sure they know you care about them
Be generous with yourself, your information and knowledge, and your time
That’s just about you. You can also build trustworthiness by creating a common interest, helping the other person decide that you are not all that different. And avoid leveling punishment on others. Exacting a penalty for undesirable behavior might work in the short term, but you’re likely to experience long-term issues.
A Revolutionary Assistant counts on trustworthy connections to help her do her job. Hopefully, these hints will help encourage interactions to stay above-board and mutually beneficial!
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