Relationships are complex. So is the trust building process. Trust is based on who you are; trust is demonstrated by what you say and how you behave.
Trust evolves over time, requires sound judgment, and should not be given recklessly. Trust has terms, limits and conditions. Those who extend trust evaluate risks and benefits before proceeding.
Here are a few thoughts on the trust building process:
- Code of Honor – the basics like showing respect, telling the truth and keeping your word are foundational to the process of trust. If you are consistent in keeping the code, then you build trust over time.
- Extend Trust – you can choose to go first and give trust. Not a blind trust, but rather a trust with clear expectations and strong accountability built into the process.
- Be Open – People who communicate only when they need something or when it’s in their best interest to tell you something limit trust. Those who share information appropriately increase trust. Tell people what they need to know, not everything you know! Use judgment to balance between protecting confidential information and sharing needed knowledge. Information that adds to overload or isn’t pertinent diminishes trust.
Think of trust like a bank account. You extend trust credits proportional to the risk you are willing to take with someone. When that person honors the trust you’ve granted, then he or she earns a deposit in the trust account. When the person says or does something that busts your trust, there is a withdrawal from their trust account.
If a trust account becomes overdrawn, it would be foolish to continue to extend trust. As they say, “trust must be earned.”