thinking: Trust

“The moment there is suspicion about a person's motives, everything they do becomes tainted”

Mahatma Gandi

With conversation we can build trust.

Trust in work relationships increases the speed of getting things done, and reduces the cost. It’s both rational and emotional.

At a rational level, it is helpful to be perceived as credible and reliable.  This is about:

  • Delivering results.
  • Holding yourself and others accountable. “Doing what I say I will do.”
  • Confronting reality.
  • Clarifying expectations

At an emotional level, trust is about honesty, intimacy, courage and service. This is about:

  • Showing loyalty.
  • Extending trust to those who have earned it.
  • Telling your truth, respectfully.
  • Righting wrongs.


A useful model for trust is the idea of ‘trust accounts’. We can make deposits or withdrawals. Building trust occurs fastest when we stop making withdrawals.  Our withdrawals are perceived as more significant than our deposits. Unfortunately it’s easy for personal motives to get in the way of a building trust and effective relationships. It happens in lots of small subtle ways – poor questions, not taking the  time to understand the real issues, poor listening, treating work interactions as transactions, and rushing to quickly to actions/solutions. The consequences are lower trust, slower resolution of the real issues, and greater tension for both sides of the relationship.

It’s simple but it ain’t easy!

With trust we can work to really influence others.