A Simple Way To Build Trust
It’s hard to remember what life was like without emails. Many of us remember the photocopied company memos with the CC: signature check boxes that got passed around via the inter-office envelopes. Some may not even know what that method of communication was.
Back then most interaction was either face-to-face or over the phone. Since the advent of email and its permeation into our workplace, it’s far easier, and passive, to sit at one’s desk and pound out an email.
As with everything else, emails bring both pros and cons. The pros, of course, are reaching multiple people and having a forum for dialogue.
The cons can start to be listed with: impersonal communication, reading into what is written, the deluge of information they generate, time spent wasted in reading and/or managing them. These need discerning readers and leaders who can influence the appropriate spirit and trust in using them.
But there is one con, subtle yet enormous in impact, that will dethrone trust.
The Bcc Field.
Blind carbon copies (Bcc) can be helpful in some ways (one of my colleagues uses it to copy herself on all emails she sends). Their purpose is merely a way to involve another person(s) behind the scenes. Usually these communications are then brought out when the individual wasn’t aware that someone else was in on the situation.
Using the Bcc field can send the following signals:
- I/We don’t trust you (the recipient)
- The 3rd (or more) party is hiding waiting for an opportune time to strike
- We’re waiting for a way to use this communication against you
- We’re not people of integrity and we have hidden agendas
If you want to change the culture of trust in your organization, opt never to use the Bcc field. Have the function disabled on all workstations if possible. Trust is built on integrity. Integrity is open and honest communication at all times.
If you are going to include another person in on the emails, then place them in the Cc field. Even better, mention it in the email body that you are doing so (and why) so it’s clear to the other person what the intention is.
And even better than that, if it’s a situation that is serious enough to need another person involved, have a face-to-face meeting. In-person communication will go a lot farther to build trust, and usually with fewer misconceptions as to what was said. Deep, trusting work relationships are always stronger as a personal interaction than over the phone or electronic mediums.
Email is vital, and a necessary tool for communication. As with anything else, it can build or destroy. Build trust by being transparent, open, and honest in your email communications as well.