Can You Really Be Trusted?
We’re not all as trustworthy as we think.
Are You Trusted, or Busted?
When you’ve gained someone’s implicit trust, the working world is a magical place. It’s like being in work Disneyland, except it’s cheaper to get in.
When I feel complete trust in someone and they feel complete trust in me, everything moves smoothly. Agreements are easy and conversations are fluid, fun and fast. It’s almost, aerodynamic.
But if I don’t feel the trust? Oh boy. Things go bump, agreements can melt into slippery knots, and conversations are muddled, troubled & short. It’s about as useful as a chocolate teapot.
Trust is such an underpinning of the career advice we give at The Jolt, we teamed up with a bunch of very trusted experts called the Trusted Advisor Associates, to bring you their 6 simple tools to audit just how trustworthy you really are. Hint: you might not be as trusted as you think you are.
WINK - Put Trust First.
Ernest Hemmingway once said, “The best way to find out if someone can be trusted, is to trust them”. For those of you who tread a little warier, try the late Ronald Reagan’s famous advice instead, “Trust - but verify”. Whatever your trust tipple, it’s easy to do a little homework. Ask around or check how someone shows up on social media. It may not give you a full picture, but bad reputations carry like pollen and get stuck in the noses they break. You’ll soon get a sense. Trust is the glue of life.
NUDGE - Defining Trust.
We know it when we experience it, but what actually is it? There’s a ton of science behind the concept of trust, and it can be summed up in an equation; The Trust Equation. It was developed and published in The Trusted Advisor by Maister, Green, and Galford, The Free Press, 2000.
It’s made up of four component parts:
Credibility: our words match our actions, abilities & skills.
Reliability: we honor our commitments & duty.
Intimacy: we make people feel able to confide in us.
Self-orientation: we focus on helping others, not what we gain.
These four powerful components live deep inside us all, but they’re held in a fragile frame we can easily break.
When you ghost someone, over-promise, gossip, or use a situation for your own gain, you take a wet fish to your trust face. We’ve all done it at some point, even if we don’t care to admit it. Over time, trust can be chipped away by our actions, however small and inconsequential.
Trust keeps score.
I used to work with someone who was a chronic no-show for meetings. Recently, they reached out to me on LinkedIn to ask for help and book some time. They never showed.
Trust keeps score.
JOLT - How To Become More Trustworthy.
After years of research, backed by a survey of 73,000 people, Trusted Advisor Associates developed a framework of 6 core principles by which you can measure and audit your trust. The principles are easy to digest, rooted in common sense, and eye-opening.
Time to get naked, and turn on the trust hose dear Jolters!
The Trust Equation = Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy + Self-Orientation
If you think you already have the four components of the equation nailed, research says otherwise. That’s principle number one.
Expertise Does NOT Equal Trust
Your expertise in something doesn’t guarantee people will trust you. Ask any doctor who’s been struck off. Overemphasizing your expertise and using big words and complex charts in meetings isn’t the way to build trust.
Balance is Good
People are considered more trustworthy when all four of their trust equation components are ranked close together. The more balanced you are, the better. If you’re super credible, but not intimate, trust drops. If you show up for every meeting on time, but you gossip, trust drops.
Most People Aren’t Balanced
The survey showed that most of us emphasize just 1 or 2 trust components. For 53% of respondents, Reliability ranked as their highest. However, Intimacy and Self-Orientation ranked the lowest, at 28%. It turns out we think we’re reliable, but we don’t want to get too close to people, and we’ve got massive egos. Well hello, fellow human.
We All Think We’re Experts
Even though expertise is the least effective strategy for gaining someone’s trust, it’s the one that we use the most often. We fall into the trap of defining ourselves by our expertise, skills & title. We see it every day. They’re usually the folk referred to as the smartest people in the room. It’s not meant kindly.
Trust Can Be Taught
If you’re a habitual thrower-of-people-under-the-bus, you’re probably not a Jolt subscriber. But becoming more trusted can be taught, just like any skill, if you focus on your areas to build.
To bring balance to your trust equation, here are a few real-world ideas you can put into practice this week. Remember, it’s got nothing to do with your title or your ability to count to ten in four different languages.
Credibility; don’t over-promise. Ask for help when you get stuck. Admit you don’t know everything. Trust is being human.
Reliability; if you can’t make a meeting, say so. If you miss the meeting or run late, over-apologize with sincerity, & never do it again. Trust is respect for others.
Intimacy: take a team member out to lunch. Listen to their challenges, be a guide, and let them confide in you. Just don’t Tweet their secrets right after. Trust is earned.
Self-Orientation: help someone complete a difficult task and take ZERO credit for it. Don’t even tell anyone you did it. Trust is about the other person.
We’re all constantly working on our trust equation. Give it a shot.
If you loved this issue, we’d love it if you forwarded it to someone you trust. Or even better, someone you don’t.
With love, trust and a big thank you to the team at Trusted Advisor Associates.