How Trustworthy Are You?

By Casey Miller

Charles Green, CEO of Trusted Advisors, has been studying trust and how to build it in organizations since 1997. What he has found is that trust is made up of four components:

  1. Credibility – The words we say, the skills and credentials we bring, and the way in which people experience our expertise make people trust us.
  2. Reliability – The actions we take, our predictability, and the ways in which people fnd us dependable make people trust us.
  3. Intimacy – The extent to which people feel they can confide in us and perceive us as discreet, empathetic and safe all make people trust us.
  4. (Low) self-orientation – The more people feel we are focused on them, rather than on ourselves, the more they trust us.

After more than 86,000 surveys and interviews spanning 3 decades and 128 countries, fascinating results about trust have emerged. Reliability is the component that most respondents claim as having — 41%. By contrast, intimacy and or low self-orientation are the least often reported strengths; only 18% of respondents lead with intimacy, and only 18% with favorable self-orientation.

Interestingly, when it comes to what people rank as being the most important in developing trust, intimacy and (low) self-orientation are the most important — the traits that people claim to have the least of. A breakdown of the combination of traits by effectiveness in building trust can be found below.

Want to improve your trustworthiness? Here a some of Green’s best tips:

  1. Make lots of small promises to friends, clients, and colleagues. Then do them.
  2. Be on time.
  3. If conversations are awkward, or you feel embarrassed, name that.
  4. Listen with empathy. Steer clear of premature problem-solving
  5. Tell friends, colleagues, and loved ones something you appreciate about them.

Casey A. Miller, president of 6 ½ Consulting, is on a mission to help create environments where people value one another. In his consultancy, this means teaching business owners and executives how to build workplaces that inspire. In return, their organizations see positive returns on their time, teams, and profits. Casey@SixandaHalfConsulting.com.

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