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Communication: dispel misunderstanding

A common saying in politics when a public figure is embroiled in a personal crisis: “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.”

A similar saying regarding high-trust leadership might be, “When trust is broken, it may be a misunderstanding.”

When deep trust is lacking, it is not uncommon to rush to judgement and not take time to confirm what the person really meant and what really happened.

It is much easier to jump to conclusions, assume the worst, and spread unhappiness at the water cooler.

Unfortunately, with 21st century social media, smartphones, e-mail, and texts, the water cooler is now global in size with near-instantaneous gossip spread to large numbers of people.

Asynchronous communication using hastily written texts, emails, and tweets can be radioactive with a half-life lasting centuries.

Like a credible journalist, better to confirm your source and take steps to avoid misunderstanding before making a judgement and breaking trust.

Seth Godin addresses this in a blogpost:


Be a High-Trust Leader: take steps to promote understanding and dispel misunderstanding.

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