If you missed our first post in this series, "Building Trust Part 1: Communication", read it here.
We all have expectations of ourselves and others and they fall into one or more of the following categories: communication, character, concern, competence, connectedness, and consistency. Trust is built when we prove reliable by meeting expectations in these areas.
4 Ways to Form Good Character
Character refers to a person’s intrinsic value system and external actions. Areas often associated with character are honesty, fairness, and hard work. Character is the second value we are focusing on to build trust because the way others perceive your character will effect how much they trust you. Below are four ways to help you form good character and earn the trust and respect of those around you.
1. Be honest and take responsibility.
Proverbs 12:22 states, “The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.” Trust is fostered when a person is perceived to be manifesting honesty in their communication and actions. It is both powerful and refreshing when those in leadership roles stand in front of a person or group and take responsibility for their actions. The simple phrase "I [or we] have made a mistake and take full responsibility for it" is seldom heard.
2. Make sure everyone is in the loop.
When people within a team or organization are not spending regular time together in communication, they may discover a decision has been made without their involvement. This may cause certain members to privately or publicly question the character of other members, even though those individuals may not have committed any unethical behavior.
3. Say what you mean.
When people say one thing and do another, or promise to do something but fail to follow through, their character can be called into question ultimately resulting in an erosion of trust. “Credibility is established very simply. Tell people who you are or what you do. Then be that person and do what you have said you would do... In a simple sentence: Say what you mean and mean what you say.” -Dr. Frank Luntz, Words That Work
4. Test actions first.
Since perceptions are held as truth, someone’s character may be called into question even though they may not have committed any unethical act. Leaders must monitor the perceptions of others by regularly testing proposed actions before implementing them and by seeking honest feedback from others.
Do you personally manifest honesty and integrity with those around you? How do you know?
Does your organization manifest honesty and integrity with your constituents? How do you know?
For more on cultivating trust, read the article "Cultivating Trust in Your Organization" in our book FIT – Improving the Leadership Health of Yourself and Others.
Jay is the Executive Director of The Center and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton. Jay brings experience in the areas of ministry assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include a B.S. in Bible, a M.Ed in Instructional Systems Design and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership.