Building Trust as a Consultant or Developer

I was at the dentist this week. I got one of my teeth pulled, as recommended by my dentist. It was a painful procedure, but I went through with it because I was advised to do so by a professional. Similarly, I was told that I needed to change my car brakes. Even if I had to leave a substantial sum at the car service, I did change my brakes in order to avoid further problems.

 

I know that these two recent incidents might not seem related at first, but there is a deeper question we must discuss here. Why do I (as a client) take my dentist’s/car mechanic’s recommendation for granted? Why do I go through with procedures I didn’t even suspect I needed? Why am I willing to spend some hard-earned money as soon as these people point out that there is a problem?

 

Because I trust them. I am confident that they know what they are doing. I am confident that they are real professionals, who are experts in their field of work. Furthermore, I am aware of the fact that I cannot predict whether/when a problem will arise; however, I am also aware that I can prevent further issues by paying attention to the recommendations of these professionals.

 

Now that we’ve discussed what it is like to be a client, let’s move on to the position of the professional.

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Whether you are a freelance or an in-house consultant/developer, you need to establish a good work relationship with your co-workers and superiors – and the key element to a fruitful collaboration is trust. Trust needs to be established from the start.

 

In order to be seen as a trustworthy consultant/developer, you need to follow a few steps. You do not need to become everyone’s best friend at the company. You have to direct everyone’s gaze towards your skills, your knowledge and your professionalism.

 

My three tips for building trust are:

1. Be confident!

Analyse any new projects, think about current issues and speak about them with confidence. You need a dose of confidence paired your knowledge – in time, people around you will understand that you might not be the most talkative freelancer/employee, but when it is time to explain something related to your work, don’t be afraid to speak. Remember, you received a contract because you’re good at what you’re doing. You just need to show this to others as well.

2. Share your doubts, explain the pros and cons and justify your decisions

Your co-workers and superiors need to know that they can rely on you. They are certainly not professionals in your field – that is your job – but they essentially need to understand what you do. You don’t have to tell them everything you do, making them feel awful because of not getting your fancy technical terms. Try to think of ways of explaining project details or issues in terms that make sense to them. A quick update will assure everyone that you’re doing your job well.

3. Actually be good at what you do

My most important advice is this: don’t just strive to look trustworthy, be trustworthy. Look for solutions even if sometimes you’ll have to do extra work. Respect your deadlines and your own work. At the end of the day, every successful project will contribute to your own success and growth, both as a professional and a human being.

 

 

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