Trust And Trustworthiness

October 7, 2013

The third blog post I ever wrote, way back in March of 2009, was on trust. I think it’s one of the most important disciplines any leader needs to master, and it’s indispensable during times of change.

trustworthyIn this seven minute video, I provide a brief summary on the evidence-based foundation of trust and trustworthiness.  Trust is an attitude others develop toward us that represents their degree of willingness to make themselves vulnerable to us in situations involving risk. Trustworthiness are the things people look for in us as they evaluate the degree to which we merit their vulnerable posture toward us. In this video I discuss once again why there is no substitute for either performance or caring if you want to develop into and remain an effective , trustworthy leader.

I truly believe this is a valuable message, so I hope you will take the time to watch the video. After you do, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Celeste Peterson says:

    I will show this video to my co-directors. The ACA brings a lot of change to our business and our employees are unsure of the future. Trust will be critical.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Thanks, Celeste. Glad you found it helpful. Bret

  2. Bret, I wholeheartedly agree with you that trust is critical to leadership, and it is situationally dependent. And, that we have no control over whether others trust us or not, but we do have 100% control over how worthy we are of other’s trust.

    From your expertise, where does a leader’s trustworthiness come from? How does it originate?
    What is your opinion?

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Dennis. It’s not a matter of opinion but of empirical evidence that people want to know mainly three things 1) do we represent the things they value 2) are we good at what we do and 3) do we care about them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Bret

  3. Thanks, Bret, for your prompt response. Your research (empirical evidence) corroborates with our research over the last 2 decades: A leader’s trustworthiness (worthiness to be trusted) is the result of leaders practicing the behaviors of the 3 Cs of Trust: Character, Communication and Capability.

    A leader’s Trust of Character speaks to how well they manage expectations, keep agreements, act with mutually serving intentions and includes your #1 and #3 items. A leader’s Trust of Capability speaks to how well they acknowledge peoples’ skills and abilities, include their input in making decisions, and help them learn new skills and includes your #2 item. A leader’s Trust of Communication speaks to their willingness to share information, tell the truth, admit mistakes and give and receive constructive feedback, without getting defensive.

    At the heart of the 3 C’s of Trust and a leader’s trustworthiness, is the fourth and most important C, that is, a leader’s Capacity for Trust. This is where trustworthiness begins; a leader’s capacity for trust is one’s willingness and readiness to trust oneself, which influences their willingness to trust another. This dynamic speaks to how a leader trusts (how we trust).

    Capacity for trust is influenced by one’s experiences, (positive or negative) starting at birth, which influences one’s perceptions and beliefs, which in turn, influences one’s behavior. How a leader ‘shows up’ is demonstrated by how they behave, and whether they act with mutually serving intentions and caring towards others.

    Bret, I look forward to hearing from you, Best, Dennis

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    The peer reviewed research does show that propensity to trust – a personality trait – influences the development of trust between individuals. But because trust is an attitude, the evaluation of ability, integrity, and benevolence (trustworthiness) are stronger predictors of attitude formation. Thanks, Bret

  4. Ben Simonton says:

    Not bad Brett, but I suggest that the best strategy is for the leader to do away with distrust. That strategy worked for me for many years. Take a look at the short video on my home page