Trusting and Inspiring Trust

Many leaders find themselves in a difficult position with trust during these challenging times.  Making good decisions, despite a reduction in resources, is so dependent on receiving good information from trusted team members. The reality is that sometimes team members fail us, and sometimes we have to make decisions that others perceive as us failing them.

So, “How do we both maintain and engender a culture of trust in a constantly changing and difficult environment?”  I recommend considering a model that Julio Olalla, executive coach and founder of the Newfield School of Coaching, shared at a recent presentation.  He believes that “nurtured trust” is composed of three tenets:  sincerity, reliability and competence.   

  • Sincerity An ethical judgment of trust. Are you sincere about your intentions/promises? Does what you say in public hold true to what you do in private? How you are perceived?
  • Competency An operational judgment of trust. Do you believe you have the skills necessary to do what you commit to?                                                                                      
  • Reliability A history/shared experience. Have we developed shared experiences over time that allow us to witness consistency, integrity, honor, motives?

Each of our interactions must contain aspects of all three of these tenets for us to fully trust another individual or to be trustworthy ourselves. 

Here are some actions to consider when attempting to generate trust:

  • Maintain integrity  
  •  Listen with an open mind
  • Engage in open conversation on trust and values
  • Show respect for employees as equal partners
  • Tell the truth
  • Focus on shared goals rather than personal agendas
  • Do the right thing regardless of personal risk
  • Offer thanks  
  • Address those who do not fulfill trust  
  • Maintain confidences

Equally important is to restore trust when it has been broken.  We need to value the act of apology and forgiveness, in order to do this. Even though it is challenging to trust in a turbulent climate, we are all better off if we give trust….generously.  The reality also exists some people just are not trustworthy but we can still hold their humanness in our hearts.

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