“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
— Stephen Covey
Being able to rely on a person — to depend upon them to do what they say they will do — is called trust, says Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., and author of “Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results.”
“From doctors, mechanics, and babysitters, to spouses, friends, and coworkers, we seek and select trustworthy people to handle important matters — at home and at work.”
Earning your boss’s trust is critically important for your career success and advancement, she explains. “Regardless of how you may feel about your manager, their endorsement and recommendation will usually be requested by higher-ups before you’re promoted or handed a plum project.”
Luckily, there are a few things you can say to make them see you as a more trustworthy person — but Price says there’s one phrase in particular that, more than any other, will garner your boss’s trust. It is: “Yes, I will.”
“If you’re asked to do something by your boss, it’s likely an issue that matters to them,” she says. And those three words, “Yes, I will,” convey confidence and dependability and make them feel like they can rely on you to get it done.
“This phrase grows your boss’s trust, increases the chances of advancement, and cultivates your reputation as a trustworthy, dependable person,” Price explains.
Even if your boss’s request is not in your official job description, saying so displays a career-limiting bad attitude.
“For instance, don’t say, ‘No, that’s not my job,’ or ‘No, I don’t get paid enough for this.’ Instead, say ‘Yes, I will,’ and include parameters,” says Price. “For example, if your boss lays an unreasonable request on you, reply by saying, ‘Yes, I will be glad to help you accomplish that. Given my current tasks of A, B, and C, which one of these would you like to place on the back-burner while I work on this new assignment?’ This response is proactive and supportive, yet clearly communicates your current workload and realistic expectations.”
Whatever the request (given it’s within your legal and ethical boundaries), be positive about it, she adds. “Make your boss feel confident that you will accept and complete the task.”
Of course, you can’t just say those three words and not follow through (that’s probably the fastest way to lose their trust) — you’ll need to complete the task with excellence to prove to your boss that you’re a valuable, reliable resource who helps them do their job better.
“That will truly cement your boss’s trust knowing they can always rely on you,” Price says. “Because, ultimately, the phrase any boss loves to hear most of all from an employee is, ‘Yes, I did.'”
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