While we can assess trustworthiness and understand its impact on our personal and professional lives, being or becoming trustworthy can’t be reduced to behaviors alone. Our actions are manifestations of our principles — the beliefs and values we carry inside ourselves and live by. If your values don’t drive you to behave in a trustworthy manner all the time, you’ll be found out quickly.
Viewed that way, our results on the Trust Quotient are really just an outcome of the principles we hold. The way to become trusted is to act consistently from those principles — specifically four principles that govern trustworthy behavior:
- A focus on the other (client, customer, co-worker, boss, etc.) for the other’s sake, not just as a means to one’s own ends. We often hear “client-focused” or “customer-centric”, but these terms are all too frequently framed in terms of economic benefit to the person trying to be trusted. Viewed rightly, those benefits to us are welcome outcomes of a more primary focus on the other.
- A collaborative approach to relationships. Again, this is an often overused and misused term. True collaboration is a fundamental, default inclination to work together, creating both joint goals and joint approaches to getting there. True collaboration is a belief that working together will result in a better outcome.
- A medium to long-term relationship perspective, not a short-term transactional focus. Focusing on relationships nurtures and ultimately generates more transactions. The opposite is not true — in fact, a focus on transactions chokes off relationships. Ultimately, the most profitable relationships are those where multiple transactions are assumed, and the goal is building long-term success for everyone involved.
- A habit of being transparent in all one’s dealings. Transparency simplifies and strengthens business relationships. It increases credibility and lowers self-orientation, by one’s willingness to keep no secrets.
Applying these Trust Principles to all of your actions will develop the fullest possible sort of trusting relationships.