– How does one earn trust?
Let’s start with the basics: To be trusted, one has to be trustworthy. Trustworthiness, however, is a more complex concept than most people realize. It embodies four separate virtues: integrity, honesty, promise-keeping and loyalty. A failure in any one of these areas will prevent or destroy trust.
Integrity refers to moral wholeness, a consistency between words, acts and beliefs. People with integrity earn our trust because they can be counted on to put ethical principles over integrity and do what they believe is right and what they say they will do even when it may cost more than they want to pay. People of integrity put their honor above social, financial and career considerations.
People earn our trust by being scrupulously honest, by being truthful and sincere. Honest people
don’t lie or intentionally deceive or mislead with clever half-truths, verbal hair-splitting or calculated silence designed to cause us to believe something that is not true.
Trustworthy people also keep their promises and, in relationships justifying expectations of loyalty, they demonstrate their commitment to our well-being by being forthright and candid. This can be tricky when a person has conflicting loyalties, but close friendships and many business relationships create an expectation that our friend or business associate will affirmatively volunteer information we need or want to know to protect ourselves (e.g., about the infidelity of a spouse or an impending merger or plant closing).
Trust isn’t attained by wishing and wanting. We build trust like we build a tower, stone by stone. What we often forget is that these towers, no matter how old or how tall, can be easily toppled. Lies, deceptions and broken promises don’t remove stones from the top of the tower they imperil the foundation by taking them from the bottom.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that Character Counts!