Lets face it, we are responsible for what comes out of our mouths. And while people are 100 percent responsible for how they react to our words, choosing our words wisely will impact relationships. It starts with the speaker.
So what can you say consistently as a person of integrity that will cause others to gravitate toward you, and eventually say, "This is someone I can trust"?
You can start with these phrases:
"How did you think that went?"
A question all great mentor-coaches in influential roles ask. Reserve your judgment to avoid defensiveness and use this question to let someone else gauge her success by her own standards. This puts the other person at ease, and she is free to decide how successful the task, presentation, performance, or meeting was, and what she wants to talk about in relation to the question.
"That was my fault."
Put your ego aside because admitting to being human and making mistakes actually increases trust. Dr. Paul Zak, author of Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High Performance Companies says, "People who are imperfect are more attractive to us. We like them more than people who seem too perfect."
"Would you mind giving me a hand?"
This is especially tactful after you've admitted a short-coming, an oversight, or that you've royally messed up. Asking for help extends your honesty and your humble disposition makes you more trustworthy to the other person.
"Can I get your advice on this?"
Dr. Wood Brooks, author of a study linking people that ask for advice to being perceived as more competent says: "In our research, we find that people are hesitant to ask for advice because they are afraid they will appear incompetent." She says that this is misplaced fear. The reality is that "people view those who seek their advice as more competent than those who do not seek their advice."
"I trust your judgment."
Trust is a two-way street. By extending it as a gift to others, they'll be more inclined to return the favor and trust you back. This gives workplaces clear competitive advantage and brings teams closer together to produce excellent, cohesive work. Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc. and author of Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results, says "avoid the 'Do It Yourself' attitude; find ways to rely on others in the workplace. Show that you value and celebrate their input and give them opportunities to earn your trust."
"I couldn't have done it without you."
This is quite possibly the highest form of saying "thank you." By acknowledging someone else's effort for going above and beyond, especially if it makes you look good, put that person on the pedestal he or she deserves! When reinforced as a cultural trait, this simple act of encouragement is mental booster that will send ripples of trust across the organization.
"Here's what this means for you..."
People want to know where they stand, they want to feel safe, and certainly be ensured that you (especially a boss) have their best interests in mind. If you're selling an idea, getting buy-in to a challenging vision, or requesting money for a project, communicate clearly to your audience the benefits--short and long-term.
"I'm all ears."
This will instantly send a message to the listener that you're open to dialog and are genuinely interested in what they have to say. Just make sure your body language matches so you are truly giving the other person your undivided attention with no distractions. Add some flattery, acknowledge them for their ideas or suggestions, and you may just spark a productive exchange.
"What can I do to help?"
This phrase can move mountains when deadlines are due, stress is high, and desperation is setting in. Servant leaders that demonstrate action through this question by genuinely helping their employees and having their backs will create a ripple effect.
"What can I do differently?"
Employees with a growth mindset will and should use this phrase often as they learn new things. It demonstrates to their bosses that they're open to suggestions, and are eager to see something from another angle to accelerate their development. And as managers, they should allow their employees the freedom to express their opinions and validate those that add value. It may be that you, the manager, are the one that may benefit from an employee's expertise to help you see something different.