Building Trust


Trust - The Key to Healthy Relationships


“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”

George MacDonald


I've been thinking a lot about trust these days . . . well mostly, MIS-trust. It seems everywhere I turn I see people whose trust has been broken and they are skeptical about the motives of others. I am by nature someone who easily trusts and generally gives people the benefit of the doubt. But recently I'm finding that when trust has been broken multiple times, it is not a simple matter to regain it.


Building trust starts with relational leadership—one-on-one—as shown on our Leader to Leader Framework.

From there it builds and grows or dies through team, organizational, and community leadership.

Trust is often taken for granted until it is lost. When I connect with leaders through coaching and team facilitation, trust is a foundational topic.


What is trust?

Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

When you trust someone, you believe that he or she will do what what they say they will do.


Why is trust so important?

Though most of us take it for granted, trust is the foundation on which every relationship is built. In any kind of relationship (with colleagues, friends, your spouse, your family, teachers, bosses, an audience, customers, readers, and so on) trust is a treasure that is hard to gain but easy to lose.


People trust others for various reasons:

- I trust you because you know what you are doing. You are competent.

- I trust that you will not harm me. You are kind.

- I trust that you will do what you say you will. You have integrity.


The Concept of “Holding in Trust”

“To Hold in Trust involves being responsible for something (or someone) that we don’t possess, own, or have ultimate control over. It is knowing that when our responsibility is completed, we will have contributed to improving the capability and health of individuals and organizations and to enhancing conditions for those we may never know, for a time we may never see.” Katherine Tyler Scott, Ki ThoughtBridge


No doubt you can look at your own life and think of people who have "held you in trust" over the years – they have invested in you. There may be others who were in a role where they were supposed to hold you in trust, but they did not. They may have dropped you – and perhaps even “stomped on you” when you were down!


Our tendency is to focus on other people breaking trust with us.But how are WE doing at building trust with others?


Who has God placed in your life right now that you are to be holding in trust?

How are you doing with that?


Here are few things you can do to build trust with others:


1. Invest the gift of time in others

- Credibility and a good reputation are given to you by others as your relationship develops over time.


2. Take Action

- Be dependable - honor promises – Do what you say you will

- Be persistent and consistent in your behavior

- Be loyal and fair


3. Communicate well

- Listen well - Say “Tell me more . . . “

- Keep a confidence

- Be open & authentic; tell the truth (in love), own & speak your true feelings

- Do not talk negatively behind people’s backs - No Gossip

- Be willing to be wrong and say so - no “but . . .”


4. Give Responsibility

- Use the words “I trust you,” and back those words with action.

- Give opportunities to succeed

- Let someone else have the credit


Once trust is built, it becomes easier to manage the inevitable conflict that happens in life.


Leader to Leader™ Facilitators offer an insightful, interactive workshop called Building Trust & Handling Conflict. If you are interested in any of our Leader to Leader™ workshops for your team—or coaching for yourself— please contact me.

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