Most people want to be seen as being trustworthy. In fact I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t want to be seen this way, including criminals. So what does it take to be seen as being trustworthy? Who do we trust and who do we not? This is not as simple as it seems, there is more to it than being honest.
What we need to trust
A while ago I said I couldn’t trust a colleague. They took it badly as I imagine anyone would. It wasn’t because I thought they were dishonest. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I would have trusted them with the contents of my wallet. So why couldn’t I trust them?
It comes down to four factors that need to be in place to be seen as being trustworthy. They are honesty, care, competence and reliability. In my colleague’s case, I was feeling let down when they didn’t follow through and attend events they had committed to. I assessed I couldn’t rely on them to show up and that broke my trust in them.
We’ve already talked about honesty, so let’s explore the other two factors. Competence is an interesting one. I am working with a team of very highly skilled medical professionals. I would trust each one of them with my life. But would I trust them as a teammate to stand up for me in a meeting I couldn’t attend? That is a different question and it illustrates that competence is contextual. In what context am I trusting that you are competent? You shouldn’t trust me to diagnose your health but you hopefully do trust your doctor.
The last one is care and this one is tricky. Do I believe you have my best interests at heart? It is very subjective and requires me to seek understand what is important to you as well as sharing what I need. Once I understand this, I can connect to what is important to you, a key skill for any leader.
In my next post I am going to share a tool to assess your trustworthiness. For now I’m going to give you a sneak peek. My good friend and exceptional coach Dave Stitt created the Trustworthy Tracker. You can find it here.