I think we would all say that trust in relationships is important, but why?
What is it about how we were created or wired that causes us to value trust or, on the flip side, to struggle relationally when trust is broken?
Let’s start by looking at how the word trust is defined and see if it points us in a specific direction.
1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence
2. confident expectation of something; hope
3. a person on whom or thing on which one relies
That definition sounds a lot like faith, doesn’t it?
Simply put, trust is important because God created us to value trust – in others and, more importantly, in Him!
As Christ-followers, we are called to represent Him in all that we do – and that is most evident in how we respond to others. So, how do we effectively build trust in our relationships?
Jack Lannom, author and leadership consultant, writes that there are seven things that enable trust to be built in a relationship – whether you are a leader of others, a parent, a co-worker, a spouse or a friend, these points apply in all aspects of our lives. I will make an attempt to summarize them below…
Character – We need to be a person of character. This one is critical and takes a lot of time to establish because it includes attributes such as integrity, humility and transparency.
Competence – People want and expect their leadership to be competent. It makes complete sense – you wouldn’t trust a doctor without licensing and sufficient training. The same holds true in leadership as your team will expect that you have the skill set to lead well.
Confidence – Your team will want to see passion and confidence from their leaders. Wisdom says that “we cannot impart that which we do not possess.” Is our confidence genuine and passionate or inauthentic and disengaged?
Caring – It has been said that ‘people really don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’. Are you encouraging? Do you show empathy and genuine concern for others? These behaviors feed trust-building.
Communication – Everything we do as leaders communicates something. Beyond what we say, how we invest our time, what we say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to, how well we listen – they mean something to our team. Do we speak with clarity? Do we speak the truth? I really like what Mark Miller (of Chick-fil-A fame) says about this – ‘Greatness in leadership is most often determined by the actions others do not see.’
Consistency – Are you the same person when talking to the chairman, your manager, your pastor, your spouse, the maintenance staff, or the clerk at your local grocery store? Do you respond differently from day-to-day based on your mood? People want leaders to model the values of their organization daily, not occasionally.
Commitment – Are you all in? Are you dedicated to the people you serve? Are you sold out to the mission and vision of the organization? It’s not reasonable to think people will demonstrate a higher level of commitment than we do. If we ask for more than we’re willing to give, we don’t just fail to build trust – we lose it.
These seven things have helped open my eyes to not only how I think I am doing in these areas but how I am perceived by others in the same. Make it a point to be introspective often as a self-aware leader is definitely closer to being a great leader than those who never take an honest look at who they are vs. simply what they can do.
How are you doing in these areas?