Psychology Today’s article Ten Ways to Cultivate Work Relationships and Grow Trust’s message is that “trust building is relationship building”. This article hits the nail on the head when several qualities of trusting people emerge: authenticity, commitment, concern and care. However, in our opinion, the unsung hero of this building trust article is “inclusion”.
Whether working with a client or a colleague, collaborating on projects quite literally means that the project’s success requires more than one contributor. In other words, when was the last time one person successfully completed a project in the dark corner of the office without help, input or review of a colleague or client? Never! Therefore, if we’re assuming that collaboration is required for projects to succeed, having a baseline of inclusiveness is the first step in building healthy working relationships for collaboration.
So what is inclusiveness? Inclusiveness is about feeling like your thoughts and opinions are heard and considered, aka being an “insider”. Being included doesn’t necessarily equate to decision-making power, but does give a platform for a person to express herself and gives weight to her contributions.
So how do you cultivate an inclusive work environment with clients and colleagues? Here are a few questions to ask yourself to get in the right mindset:
- Do their (client or colleague) physical or verbal expressions seem to express the feeling of being included in the project’s process?
- Do they speak openly when they have ideas and ever express concern on controversial items?
- Do they ever seem defensive in conversation over the ideas they contribute?
- Do they try to change the deliverables of a project even if they go against the original goals?
And for those of you who watch the Daily Show, here’s your moment of zen: