Who Do You Trust? Honesty Ratings by Career

Periodically, someone does a survey on the trustworthiness of various professions. Last month it was time for Gallup to do their annual poll of “Honesty and Ethical Standards of Professions.”

All the fun happens at the bottom of the list. The good news for politicians is that their ratings were up from last year. The bad news is that puts them in next to last place, just ahead of car salesmen.

Over the years, the ratings of engineers have gone steadily upward. Pharmacists and doctors rate near the top of the lists, as they have for years.

But heading the list of most honest and ethical professions are – nurses. As the article puts it:

[nurses] have scored at the top of all professions every year since they were first included in the list in 1999 — apart from 2001, when Gallup asked about “firefighters” on a one-time basis after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Nurses receive a 10-percentage-point higher rating than pharmacists, who in turn are five points above medical doctors.

This finding makes perfect sense if you’ve followed the findings of Trusted Advisor Associates’ Trust Quotient Assessment, outlined in the White Paper – Think More Expertise Will Make You More Trusted?  Think Again.

The Trust-Power of Intimacy

These findings are based on the four factors of the Trust Equation – credibility, reliability, intimacy, and self-orientation. Based on 12,700 people who took the assessment (since grown to over 25,000), it turned out that the most powerful of the four factors was – intimacy.

High overall trust scores were more highly correlated with high intimacy scores than with any other component. (Intimacy in this study was defined as giving others a sense of security and willingness to confide in them).

Interestingly, women scored as more trustworthy than men. And almost all of the higher ratings for women were due to women’s higher score on one of the four factors – intimacy.

Back to nursing. Ask yourself: which of the four trustworthiness factors are most associated with nursing? Intimacy comes top of mind. We are, figuratively and literally, naked before nurses, and we trust them. It makes perfect sense that nurses consistently outrank all others in most-trusted-professions surveys.

The Soft Stuff is the Hard Stuff

If you’re interested in improving trust in your organization, or in becoming more trustworthy as an individuals, the best route there lies not just through advanced degrees, track records and testimonials – it lies in increased intimacy.

Intimacy correlates with a group of what’s commonly known as “soft” attributes – emotional intelligence, listening, empathy.  Want to move the needle? Show some hard results? This is how you do it. The soft stuff turns out to be the hard stuff.

  • John

    Thanks Charlie for re-enforcing the need to develop and practice intimacy. This is the area I have been working on (steep road) I have always prided myself on the Credibility and Reliability components of the Trust Equation.

    What I have found is that while I don’t notice a discernible difference in business closed or won since focusing on intimacy, I have made more friends and that is valuable in and of itself.

    Take Good Care,

    • http://twitter.com/CharlesHGreen Charles H. Green

      John, that’s great – and keep it up, I’ll bet it shows up in business stats as well.