BUILDING TRUST: Handling its fragility and harnessing its power

What strongly bonds yet easily breaks? What highly motivates and deeply discourages? What comforts and causes insecurity? What inspires and crushes the spirit? What creates safety and produces danger? What takes a long time to build and an instance to destroy? The answer to these questions of ironies point to one short word – TRUST.

Have you ever been betrayed? How does it feel? The feeling of betrayal is the product of a broken trust. It generates harmful and deeply painful emotions. Some even go through life-threatening physical deterioration. It takes extra effort to work through it. In cases where pain or hurt cannot be managed, professional help is needed.

The significance of trust in everyday living is captured in the statement of author, Sissela Bok, in her book, “Lying”:

Trust is a social good to be protected just as much as the air we breathe or the water we drink. When it is damaged, the community as a whole suffers; and, when it is destroyed, societies falter and collapse…Trust and integrity are precious resources, easily squandered, hard to regain.

Trust is the foundation of  positive human relationships — in our personal lives, in our communities, or in the workplace. It preserves collaboration and enhances good communication. Trust frees the mind of insecurity that prevents it from making sound judgments and coming up with creative ideas. Remove trust and all other  efforts to bond people together to cooperatively work towards a common goal for the common good will crumble.

“I believe that trust is more powerful than power itself….it supports innovation and flexibility, and it makes life more enjoyable and more productive. People who live in high-trust environments thrive.” — Joel Peterson

Being trustworthy is being ethical when working and relating with those around us. It is the ability to establish a bond of trust with others. Trustworthiness is among the wide range of emotional intelligence (EI) competencies that distinguish excellent employees from the average ones. It belongs to the cluster of competencies under self-management. According to best-selling author and psychologist, Daniel Goleman:

The Trustworthiness competence translates into letting others know one’s values

and principles, intentions and feelings, and acting in ways that are consistent with them.

Trustworthy individuals are forthright about their own mistakes and confront others about

their lapses. A deficit in this ability operates as a career derailer.

People lacking this competence

    • are unable to establish open, candid, trusting relationships.
    • have developed a reputation for lacking integrity.
    • make promises they are not able or do not intend to keep.
    • behave erratically and treat people poorly.
    • undermine others for their own gain.

People with this competence

    • share information, including about themselves (appropriate self-disclosure).
    • are willing to be influenced; are able to change their mind as a result of talking with others.
    • treat people fairly, consistently and with respect.
    • genuinely care about others
    • maintain high standards of personal integrity.
    • behave in accordance with their expressed beliefs, values and commitments.
    • deliver on their promises and commitments.

Trust is built over a period of time. It is not demanded, it is earned. Every person has this capacity to be trustworthy. Work on this capacity if you desire to develop competency in this area. A good start is to practice the following development tips on a regular and consistent basis:

  • Build personal relationships with others through listening carefully to what’s on their minds and in their hearts.
  • Always deliver on your commitments, if you say you will make a meeting or do something, don’t make a habit of cancelling; followthrough on what you say you will do.
  • Be accessible; your co-workers will find it hard to trust you just because you have a title.
  • Never knowingly mislead or lie.
  • Consciously articulate and demonstrate your leadership values, principles and ethics in the actions you take and the decisions you make.
  • Admit your mistakes or your part in them.
  • Protect the interests of those who are not present and those with less power than you.

You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough. —Frank Crane

This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. — Dwight D. Eisenhower

For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth. — Bo Bennett

If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you. — Zig Ziglar

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. — Charles Spurgeon

Is trust a big issue in your life today? Have you been betrayed? Do you feel like people don’t trust you enough? Need help in this area? You can trust our team of experts to help you. Contact us today.

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