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Trust, Trustworthy and Trusting

You cannot make people trust you. Trust is earned, every day, through your words and actions. You can, however, be trustworthy; worthy of other people’s trust.

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” 
George MacDonald

You demonstrate trustworthiness in several ways:

  • By following through and doing what you say you will do.
  • By maintaining confidences.
  • By taking the blame and giving away the credit.
  • By doing what is right when it is not easy, popular, or expedient.
  • By creating and sustaining a culture of candor and curiosity where it is not only safe but expected that people will ask difficult questions.
  • By listening, truly listening.
  • By practicing your values not just preaching your values.
  • By creating a culture where it is ok for people to ask for help.
  • By creating a culture where it is ok for people to say, “I need more training”.
  • By standing up and owning up when you screw up.
  • By demonstrating that you truly care about your people.

Being trustworthy however, is not enough. You also need to be trusting. If you want to get trust, you need to give trust.

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” 
Ernest Hemingway

Train your people then trust your people to do the work. It is ok to embrace the adage of “Trust but Verify”. Verify that they understand the mission, the guidelines, and guardrails, and then check in with your people periodically to see what they need from you as they work to advance the mission or project. ‘Trust but Verify’ is not an excuse to micromanage your people.

As a leader you need to earn the trust of your people by being trustworthy and trusting.

Remember that leadership is a choice and a journey, and it starts with you. Choose well, keep learning, and enjoy the journey.

Brian Willis

Register yourself, and your team for the Dare to Be Great: Strategies for Creating a Culture of Leading online workshop to get everyone on the same page regarding leadership and culture. If you are interested in hosting a live Dare to Be Great workshop reach out to me at