Success in business requires some willingness to trust people. When your company’s money and resources are on the line, how can you do a better job of gauging trustworthiness and thereby improve your likelihood of success? Try these tips to prompt trustworthiness in new or potential partners’ behavior:
• Be generous. Feelings of gratitude foster trustworthy behavior. Giving new partners a reason to feel grateful to you is a win-win: They benefit in the short term from your generosity, and you reap the rewards of their loyalty.
• Find commonality. Emphasizing common ground increases the likelihood that your counterpart will see you as someone with whom it’s possible to build a lasting and beneficial relationship.
• Don’t punish. Threats of punishment can prevent untrustworthy behavior in the moment but can be counterproductive in the long term: new partners may be less likely to take risks to support one another.
Adapted from “Who Can You Trust?” by David DeSteno.