Can People Trust You?

Over the next two days, I will have the great privilege of facilitating a leadership development workshop for 60 leaders from across the state of Oklahoma.

And I will ask them a very important question – the same question that I will ask you at the end of this post.

First, let’s talk about trust.

Trust is such a bedrock foundational element of leadership that famed leadership guru Warren Bennis once said, “Leadership without mutual trust is a contradiction in terms.”

In other words, you cannot be an effective leader without trust.

And, right now, there is a crisis of trust in every corner of our societal structure.

But the good news is that trust is something that can be learned, measured, and improved.

So, you and I can do something about the crisis of trust we’re enduring by becoming trustworthy people ourselves; and the way to do that is to focus on our character and competency.

Character includes your integrity, motive, and intent with people.

Competence includes your capabilities, skills, results, and track record.

And as Stephen Covey points out in his book The Speed of Trust, both of these dimensions are vital to leadership.

In that book, Covey identifies 13 common behaviors of trusted leaders around the world and he says, “When you adopt these ways of behaving, it’s like making deposits into a ‘trust account’ of another party.”

Those 13 behaviors are:

  1. Talk Straight
  2. Demonstrate Respect
  3. Create Transparency
  4. Right Wrongs
  5. Show Loyalty
  6. Deliver Results
  7. Get Better
  8. Confront Reality
  9. Clarify Expectation
  10. Practice Accountability
  11. Listen First
  12. Keep Commitments
  13. Extend Trust

Covey also writes: “The best leaders recognize that trust impacts us 24/7, 365 days a year. It undergirds and affects the quality of every relationship, every communication, every work project, every business venture, every effort in which we are engaged. It changes the quality of every present moment and alters the trajectory and outcome of every future moment of our lives – both personally and professionally. I am convinced that in every situation, nothing is as fast as the speed of trust.”

So, here’s that question…

What are you doing over and over again that is threatening to erode trust?

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