Noodle* on this…
Trust is the glue of life. It is the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships. ~ Stephen Covey
Once upon a time, I worked for a large corporation, and as often happens, leaders came and went. So, a new director was assigned to the division in which I worked. The first week he called a meeting. Attendance was mandatory, either in person or electronically.
Max, our new director, introduced himself. He gave us his educational and professional background; described his management style; and told us a bit about his personal life – married with three children, one in college; and told a couple of jokes. He also gave us the usual pep talk from a new leader – the company goals, “we are all in this together,” etc. Then, he paused and looked around the room. It was a very long pause.
Finally, he said, “I assume that you are all competent, responsible professionals. That is why you are here and I will treat you as such. Each of you has a clean slate with me and I trust you to keep it that way.”
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, trust is reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; a person in whom confidence is placed. Trust is the basis of all human interactions from family relationships, in the workplace, to friendships to chance encounters.
We build trust by being open to others and showing that we trust them. This is what Max, our new director, was doing. But building trust is difficult. According to psychologist Jeffery A. Simpson, Trust involves the juxtaposition of people’s loftiest hopes and aspirations with their deepest worries and fears. This is why it is so hard for us to trust. We decide to trust or not trust a person almost automatically, on “gut instinct” although people we consider trustworthy tend to show certain attributes. A trustworthy person is:
- Open and approachable.
- Responsible and accountable – they admit their mistakes or what they don’t know.
- Competent – they show the skills they need to do what they say they will do.
- Reliable – they do what they say they will do.
- Authentic – you cannot “fake” trust.
- Calm – stressful situations do not upset them.
- Humble – they are not afraid to ask for or hear feedback.
Most importantly trustworthy people are honest because, according to Albert Einstein, Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”
The Benefits of Being Trustworthy
Building and maintaining trust is hard, ongoing work, but it is well worth the effort for a variety of reasons:
- Increased self-awareness: According to psychologist Brenda Ellington Booth at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, when you are trustworthy, you are more aware of your limitations; more willing to admit mistakes; and ask for help.
- Credible and consistent: You can be counted on to keep your word; to be consistent and reliable, even in times of crisis.
- Strong, enduring friendships: As a trustworthy friend, you are a gem to be cherished. Friends and family know they can count on you and you can count on them.
- A sign of respect: Being honest, open and reliable shows that you care and it is downright attractive.
- Trust attracts trust: When you are trustworthy, you model that behavior for other and they tend to adopt their own trustworthy behaviors.
Even the writers of the Old Testament understood the importance of trust. Proverbs 19:1 tells us: Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
Your Noodle Challenge…
Patrick Williams and Lloyd J. Thomas, the authors of Total Life Coaching (2005) developed the following questions that will help you explore how trustworthy you are and the areas where you can improve and we all have areas that need improvement.
After reading the questions, select one or two that you will work on over the next two weeks.
- Are your actions predictable and congruent (agree) with your stated positions?
- Do you follow through on your promises and avoid making excuses?
- Is your behavior dependable?
- Do you respond truthfully (authentically) to constructive criticism?
- How do you treat confidants?
- Under what circumstances do you lie?
- Do you exaggerate the positive and diminish the negative?
- Is your behavior consistent with your stated values, even when no one is watching?
- Do you take responsibility for your mistakes, omissions, and shortcomings?
These extra questions are from Your Humble Scribe (me).
- What have you done this week to build trust with family members, friends, co-workers and even acquaintances?
- Are you willing to trust others and give them the benefit of the doubt?
Select a question to answer. Then, develop an action plan to help you build trust and implement it. Share your experience with is in the Leave a Reply section below.
Trust is earned, respect is given, and loyalty is demonstrated. Betrayal of any one of those is to lose all three. ~ Ziad K. Abdelnour
Riddle Me This…
Q: Why can you never trust atoms?
A: They make up everything!
- Trapeze: Brenda Knowles Space to Live
- Trust =: A Learning A Day
- Buddhist Priest and Tiger: Piryom Sarkar, What is Trust?
- Broken Trust: Maria Batista, 60+ Broken Trust Quotes
* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm … and then to act!