Never, ever ask anyone to trust you! Demonstrate that you are worthy of their trust. Trust is at the heart of every healthy relationship. It is the pitch and mortar that holds the structure of our relationships together. Trust drives every relationship: intimate, platonic, casual, or professional; you cannot escape the trust essential.
Trust is at the heart of every contract, written or spoken. Without trust, families, marriages, businesses, and churches would all come crashing down around us, and many have. Above all the best qualities that one can possess, trustworthiness is supreme. It alone is the evidence of other essential and desirable character traits.
Integrity, honesty, respect, ability to lead, a collaborative spirit, and so many other essential personal traits rely upon trustworthiness. Perhaps you can think of other personal qualities that would implode if the person who professed to have then were found untrustworthy.
I remember being introduced by a new client to a person who was in desperate need of consulting support. While meeting with this person to discuss how I could potentially help save their restaurant business, he explained how the water had been shut off for non-payment and that he had been turned back on illegally. I immediately knew that I could not work with him because the contract we would sign would mean nothing but ink and paper. Necessarily, I could not trust him. Absent trust there is no basis for a productive and fruitful collaboration.
Because trust is so essential to every relationship and because relationships are the essence of life and living here are a few suggested actions that build trustworthiness and demonstrate integrity. These two personal qualities will power your life through better, stronger, healthier, and more productive relationships.
Never, Ever Ask Anyone To Trust You!
The mere act of saying the words, “Trust Me!” suggests that you may not be trustworthy. When asked if you can be trusted to accomplish a task, reply,
“I will work to get the “task” done, and I will keep you updated on my progress and any challenges that I encounter.”
One of the most significant challenges you will face in life is the accuracy of memories. When you discuss a task, follow the meeting with a written communication that reviews the meeting’s details and outcomes. As you conclude the written meeting follow-up ask the recipient to respond so that you can fact check your notes from the meeting. Your email becomes the trust-check document or a contract that validates your and their understanding of expectations.
Answer Questions Before Asked.
Unanswered questions about what you are doing are a source of distrust. The simplest way to combat this trust killer is to answer questions before they are asked. You are always pitching and selling something. You are your brand, and your skillset is your product. Address questions that may become objections before they form in the other party’s mind.
By doing so, you will demonstrate that you are:
- On top of the issue or task
- Thinking critically about how to accomplish the task
- A valuable resource for solving more complex problems for the future
For a brief time, I was a licensed insurance adjuster. I had the privilege of working for an exceptional manager/leader, Mary Cox who taught me the following dictum, “If it isn’t documented, then it never happened.” I have quoted her many times in the 20+ years since she first said those words to me.
I had just gotten off the phone with an attorney who represented a family in a tragic wrongful death claim. As the subrogation adjuster, I was working to recover for the health insurance company a large sum of monies that would rightfully be the auto insurer’s responsibility. It was a 100k+ recovery. Moments after hanging up the phone, I went directly to Mary’s cubicle to share the news of my substantial recovery.
She said, “That’s great, Garry, good work!” As she was offering praise, she turned to her computer and tapped away at the keyboard, then turned to me and said, “I don’t see your documentation about the conversation and the recovery.” I replied, “I wanted to come and tell you before I made my notes.” To which she wisely replied, “Well Garry, if it isn’t documented, then it never happened.”
What a great lesson I learned that day. Document everything! It is one action the removes the pall of doubt about your thoughts and actions.
When you document, be sure to document all the stated, not inferred or implied expectations of all parties, and conclude with the stated and anticipated outcomes from the meeting, conversation, or occurrence.
Transparency equals perceived honesty.
Think about a time when you contributed money to a cause and are never hear about the outcome of your contribution. Perhaps this is a personal pet peeve of mine, but if I’m contributing to pay a bill or to a budget, I expect to have a report of how we distributed and used the monies and what surplus or shortfall we experienced.
Failure to offer transparency when others have a stake in what you are doing breeds distrust foments discord and suggests dishonesty and deception. Transparency is always the best practice.
You and I need trust. We can’t function effectively without the integrity that trust represents in relationships. Without the benefit trustworthiness, we are in deep trouble. I conclude with the immortal words of The Late, Great B.B. King,
“The thrill is gone
The thrill is gone away
The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away
You know you done me wrong baby
And you'll be sorry someday”
The Thrill Is Gone lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Ray Henderson Music Co., Inc