Often people tell me how they struggle to speak the right words to keep trust alive in their workplace relationships, especially in emotionally charged moments.
They don’t know what to say to put a sensitive issue on the table…revisit a comment that disturbed them…challenge a point of view…let a person know the difference they made…or, simply say ‘thanks’ and ‘I care about you.’
Here’s where I can help, with 22 things you can say to send a powerful message of trust:
- I counted on you to keep that information confidential. I’m disappointed you shared it without asking me. What happened?
- I see things differently. Are you open to hearing an alternative point of view?
- Let’s hit ‘pause’ on our conversation and discuss this directly with her to understand why she took that course of action.
- What I heard you say during the team meeting really bothered me. Can I talk to you about it?
- I underestimated what this would take. I can’t make the deadline we agreed upon. Can I have two more days? Is that doable?
- I made a big mistake. I own it. Here’s what I learned.
- I’m sorry I was distant yesterday. I’d just received difficult news, and was struggling to process it. I’d like to pick our conversation back up.
- I can appreciate this must be difficult for you to share. Thank you for being honest and bringing it to my attention.
- Can we talk about our meeting today? I feel like my ideas weren’t being heard. I felt dismissed. Did I say or do something off-putting, or is something else at play?
- I had no idea my behavior was impacting you that way. I’m so sorry. It wasn’t my intention. Thank you for telling me, so I can make changes.
- I don’t need this relationship to be easy. I need it to be open and honest.
- I’m committed to you and to this relationship. I count on you to tell me if you feel ‘us’ getting off track.
- Your feelings are valid. Don’t sweep them under the rug.
- I take responsibility for my part in our misunderstanding.
- I want the best for you…not just professionally, but personally.
- I value you and the difference you make.
- I care about you.
- I need your strengths in this team.
- You don’t need my permission. You’ve done the research. Run with it.
- You don’t have to be perfect.
- Cut yourself some slack. You give others a second chance. Why not give one to yourself?
- It’s okay to take time out if you need it. After all, you’re human.
The list is intended to support you to build and sustain trust in the relationships you most value. Save it. Print it. Use it!
Practice saying these words – learning this language – so you’ll communicate effectively in the moments you most want and need to truly connect.
Yours in trust,
Michelle Reina[Photo courtesy Adam D via Unsplash.]