What can you do today to build trust with your drivers? Trust takes time to earn, and takes a second to lose.
If you have a Driver or Drivers that do not trust you, here are 10 ways to establish trust:
Listen to Everything.
Force yourself to listen and paraphrase. Get what they’re trying to say. If you can’t say it back in a way that has the Driver replying, “Yes, that’s it, that’s exactly what I’m saying,” then you haven’t listened.
Empathize (for real).
Listening and paraphrasing lets the Driver know they’ve been heard. But do you understand? There’s that nagging doubt until some sort of empathetic statement is heard. Whenever you find yourself thinking, “This guy’s an idiot,” immediately ask yourself “Why does he believe this? What has happened to cause him to think this way?”. You have to work hard at understanding other people. Listen to where they are coming from. Understand where they are coming from. Acknowledge that you understand where they are coming from.
Note what they are feeling.
This is an emotional skill that only takes a moment but the payback is instant. Its only drawback is that it feels risky, but it doesn’t have to be. Pay attention to the Driver’s words and feelings, our words and feelings, and the Driver’s reaction to our words and feelings. Examples: “You look worried about something; what’s going on?” Or, “Joe, you seem angry; something happening?”
Build a shared agenda.
The easiest technique is to start by sharing your idea of an agenda for the meeting and openly asking the Driver to add his or her ideas to the agenda. It gives you immediate data, it models for the Driver your attitude of “we not me,” and it creates buy-in.
Take a point of view.
It feels risky to go out on a limb with an idea or perspective when you are not entirely sure of it. It is useful to do this even if it ends up being rejected or even wrong. This is because it stimulates reactions and it crystallizes issues. Example: “Who knows where this may go, but I was thinking….”
Take a personal risk.
Reveal something about yourself that may be ridiculed or make you look weak. It may or may not be reciprocated, but it builds trust.
Ask about a related area.
If you are talking with an owner-operator, be curious about his issues beyond the scope of contracting for the company. Ask about his business challenges. That will strongly communicate that you care.
Ask great questions.
Open-ended questions force you to not prejudge what you are hearing. The emotional subtext of open-ended questions is one of respect.
Give away ideas.
If something occurs to you that may be useful to the Driver, give it away. If you’re not sure it is a good idea, say so.
Return calls unbelievably fast.
That tells the Driver you care.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”