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The Presence & Power of Trust

Whether you’re a corporate executive, political figure, parent, teacher, husband, friend, or ministry leader, trust (trustworthiness) is one of the most important character traits. The presence of trust in your life will unlock the door to dynamic, meaningful personal relationships, effective communication, growing influence, an acceleration of business efficiency, and greater opportunities to impact the lives of those around you with authenticity and compassion. In contrast, no amount of talent, charisma, or good intention can replace–or compete with–the presence and power of trustworthiness. My friend, know this: trust isn’t built in a day, but it is built daily.

Time-Tested Trust

Stephen R. Covey said, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” If, as Mr. Covey said, trust is the glue of life, that glue must be well developed. Essentially, your long-term commitment to consistency in communication, intention, and behavior will build a strong bridge between you and those with whom you have relationship. Practically speaking, trust is fortified by:

1.) Being Honest. All the time. About everything. Don’t exaggerate to smooth the rough edges of truth. Even when you make a mistake, honesty will fortify your relationships for the long haul. When I was 17 years old, I went to the bank to make a few deposits on a Friday afternoon. Though the cash back from the transaction was supposed to be $42.00, imagine my surprise when the envelope I received contained $1,700.00. Immediately, I told the bank teller what happened and returned the money, just in time for the color to return to her face and her pulse to resume.

2.) Being Reliable in Communication. Keep your word; it’s as simple as that. Do not make promises you have no intention of keeping. Norman Vincent Peale said, “Promises are like crying babies in a theatre. They should be carried out at once.” Realistically, however, there are times when honest intention intersects with unforeseen circumstances, necessitating a change of direction, and that’s acceptable. The point is, communicate. Pick up the phone or sit down for a chat, but whatever you do, be thorough and proactive in explaining the change in direction. Effective communication prevents a breakdown of trust in all your relationships.

3.) Being Consistent in Action. Consistency in your actions creates stability in your relationships. Be dependable and do what you say you are going to do. Call or text people back as promised. Meet (or better yet, beat) deadlines. Regarding tardiness, everyone runs late once in a while, but don’t let it become a character issue. When a pattern of this behavior is formed, it’s not running late, it’s flat-out rude. Trust isn’t developed by what you say. It’s developed by what you do in response to what you say.

Don’t Burn the Bridge Down

Trust is built over time, perhaps over years of nurturing a relationship. Yet, it can be destroyed in mere moments. Can trust be rebuilt? Yes, but as Rick Warren, best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life says, “Forgiveness must be immediate, whether or not a person asks for it. Trust must be rebuilt over time. Trust requires a track record.” Rebuilding trust after a breach is not for wimps. Take, for example, collegiate athletes. Recruiters do not offer full-ride scholarships to athletes who play well only occasionally. College-bound athletes must consistently demonstrate their ability to compete. It requires conviction, consistent effort, and a total commitment to change.

The Business of Trust

In a previous post, I stated that not all managers are leaders. People obey managers because they have to, but follow leaders in whom they have confidence and trust. Case-in-point, leadership doesn’t exist without trust, and people won’t follow managers they don’t trust for very long.

In business, trust is tangible. A high level of trust in an organization is like the purr of a well-tuned engine. With trust at work in the nucleus of an organization, the efficiency of business transactions is increased, deals close faster, unity flows throughout the office, and the willingness to expand into new territory through calculated risk-taking is increased. Conversely, when there is a lack of trust within the structure of an organization, time and efficiency (which directly affect costs) become bloated, employee turnover is high, and overall organizational health (unity/morale) suffers. Moreover, words will be scrutinized, actions will be analyzed, and motivations will be questioned.

Though trust takes time to build, be diligent, specific, and intentional in your pursuit of it. The dividends are priceless.

Question: How has trust impacted your personal and professional life?

Photo Credit: Francisco Sánchez via Compfight cc