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Trust is Earned

Trust is earned one day at a time through actions large and small

We hear it all the time. “Trust me.” “Trust in the process.” “We need to trust in our partners.” But in fact, trust is really a one-way street. We can ask people to trust us, we can make an effort to be trustworthy, but in the end trust is earned. We cannot make people trust us because it is theirs to give and not ours to take, so how do we earn trust?

Start by showing you trust others through actions and not just words. Give them a job, give them the tools, give them the authority, then step aside. If people feel you looking over their shoulder they get the sense that you don’t trust them to get the job done. Supervise, demand accountability, but free your people to do the job you’ve given them.

At the same time you must demonstrate trustworthy behavior. If people come to you in confidence can you maintain their confidence? Do you constantly strive to make every decision in the best interest of the team, even when it’s not to your advantage? Lots of people talk about trust, and want to be trusted, but to earn trust you must act in a way that emanates trust 24/7/365.

Finally, celebrate the value to trust. Highlight examples of trustworthy behavior, large and small. When someone notices that the server forgot to add the desert to the bill and brings it to their attention, speak up! When someone saves the client money by being efficient knowing it will cost your company some revenue, applaud the effort. Continuous reinforcement of trustworthy behavior cements trust into the DNA of your business, and the results will follow.

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