Trust Puzzle PieceHere we are at the most challenging aspect of relationships—TRUST.

  • Do you trust the person?
  • Does he or she trust you?

Why Does Trust Matter?

Seems obvious, but the question is important. If getting the job done does not require any degree of trust, just do the work. However, trust can be important if the work or results have or require:

  1. Confidence in each person’s commitment to deliver,
  2. Uncertain or high risk solutions and execution,
  3. Reputation and influence, or
  4. Explicitly or implicitly competing interests between or among stakeholders.

Note, it can be very useful to think about your work and personal relationships as you consider how you trust or are “trusted” by others.  Notice how the two parts of your life are the same and/or different.

Three Kinds of Trust

In my coaching work, I have used a model for trust that assesses trust in three areas:

  1. Trust of Delivery: Can the person be counted on to deliver expected, work product, decisions, etc.?
  2. Trust of Integrity: Will the person tell-the-truth (e.g., fact-based, etc.)? Will the person do-the-right-thing?
  3. Trust of Agenda: Does the person have a personal agenda that gets in the way of trusting? Do you think he or she would intentionally “harm you” or “throw you under the bus?”

In some relationships, you may need to trust in all three. Others, you might find the work requires trust in only one aspect. For example, where accuracy and meeting deadlines is the focus, you might only be vulnerable if you don’t trust the person’s ability to deliver.

Are You Trustworthy?

As with the first two aspects in this relationship model, I am asking you to assess two-ways:

  1. Your trust of the other person AND
  2. The other person’s trust of you.

In the second, you are not stating how trustworthy you think you are. Rather, you are pondering on the degree to which you think that person truly trusts you. Even if you think you have done nothing for the person to mistrust you, consider what evidence you have of their trust?

 Ponder Your Assessment

Select a key relationship or two, one where you believe trust supports results and the other where distrust impedes results. Take a look at the one-page Trust Assessment and complete the tool.

Each assessment of the three aspects of relationship is more worthwhile if you complete your initial assessment and then “ponder:”

  • Is my assessment fact-based? Am I optimistic, expecting or  desirous of a trusting relationship? Am I pessimistic, considering the current state much worse than reality?
  • How does my mistrust impact my interaction? Do I lose my energy for the work? Am I less willing to take action or engage with the person?
  • How does a trusted relationship fuel results? Do you enjoy or anticipate positive interaction? Can you get to the toughest disagreements with less time or anxiety?

Next week, we will talk about what you can do to build two-way trust that supports your results. Reflect on the tool and observe your current trust and trustworthiness.