There is a lot of controversy around the idea of trust during an election cycle, so I started pondering the topic. We want elected officials we can trust to make important decisions about the well-being of our environment, our communities, and our nation. We trust them to make decisions on health, crime, transportation, budgets, safety, managing growth… the list goes on. Frequently, we become disappointed. We feel our trust was misplaced; our interests and well-being have NOT been protected. Campaign ads drive the point home again and again that the opponent is not to be trusted.
Gaining someone’s trust is a slow process, and once lost is often impossible to re-gain. When we trust someone, we believe that they are telling us the truth. We believe that they have no agenda and only have our best interest at heart. We feel we have been given some value through their words or actions. They are willing to help, listen, understand, show respect, and are reliable. Trustworthy people also give trust as well as receive it; placing their trust in you often elevates your opinion of them.
Think about the people you trust. What characteristics do they possess and display that has put them on your list? Have any of them ever lost your trust? If so, what was the path to regaining it, if that was even possible?
Distilled down, trust is confidence in someone or something, and distrust is suspicion.
It leads to discord, including low morale, miscommunication, poor response to problems and issues, and dysfunctional leadership.
Now let’s take it one step further… Do you picture yourself as a trustworthy person? Have you earned trust from others?
In both your business and personal life being trustworthy matters. Customer service is a great sales tool, but customer relationships and customer loyalty are key to long-term success. Personal relationships are no different. Lack of trust erodes relationships. The value of trust is beyond measure. Authentic trust is something that is built by both talking about it and by practicing it.
So, what is the take-away? Simple.
- Proactively think about the topic of trust, be an observer of trust, and evaluate your business and personal relationships in terms of trust.
- Identify ways you can build, strengthen, and repair trust:
- listen to others
- build compassion
- give trust (basic or conditional… not blind)
- recognize the value and contributions of others
- deal with others honestly
- address mistakes and betrayals constructively
- Trust in yourself
If you’d like to explore the topic of trust further, click on the links below for some excellent books to start with: Speed Trust by Steven M.R. Covey, Building Trust in Business, Politics, Relationship, and Life by Robert C. Solomon & Fernando Flores, The Trust Edge by David Horsager, The Little Teal Book of Trust by Jeffrey Gitomer, and Trust Works! by Ken Blanchard.