Six “Trust Busters”

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Building and maintaining a reputation of being trustworthy requires constant, deliberate, often uncomfortable effort.

There are a million ways to damage trust in a relationship, in a brand, in a leader. Based on our 5C’s model, here are six guaranteed ways to lower your trustworthiness:

1. “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.” When it becomes inconvenient to walk your talk, take the easy path. Only follow the values you say you stand for when it’s easy and comfortable. When you are tired, stressed, angry, discouraged, or distracted, forget your credo and those high-falutin’ virtues and do what comes natural. Afterward, console yourself that at least your intentions are good.

2. When the going gets tough, procrastinate, lose your interest, stop showing up, start taking names and defending yourself against criticism by blaming someone or something else. Keep the gossip flowing. Speak the language of the victim.

3. Reject feedback on your performance and avoid trying to learn a new skill. Only listen to people who tell you what you want to hear. You’ve worked hard to get where you are; you earned it. No further need to be curious or struggle to get better — that’s for more junior folks.

4. Don’t bother to listen when someone is trying to share their concerns, interests, or ideas. Yours are more interesting, you’ve done one-better, and you always have the solution to their problems. So, interrupt, hog the microphone, and tell them what to do. If they don’t like it, tell yourself that they’re ungrateful. Pat yourself on the back for showing that you care.

5. Be vague, use jargon that sounds impressive (to you); pontificate, don’t worry about being repetitive, and avoid speaking directly to those you are trying to reach. Don’t meet in-person when you can call; better yet, send an e-mail or text. Conversations are too time-consuming. Hitting “send” on an e-mail/text/tweet is so much more efficient and “the way we communicate around here.”

6. Judge your trustworthiness based only on those who trust you the most — “Bob trusts me, therefore I am trustworthy.” Don’t worry if others don’t trust you, they must have trust issues.

We all are occasionally guilty of trust-busting behavior. 

Be aware of it and strive to improve.

The most successful pilot, yachtsman, and race-car drivers plot their desired route and constantly make small corrections to stay on course.

Be a High-Trust Leader: avoid these six trust-busters. 


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