Following is a guest post by leadership and communication speaker Michelle Tillis Lederman.
Did this question make you feel a little nauseous in the pit of your stomach? My mind did something like, “Yes! I think so… I hope so! Do they?” Then I started going through people in my mind to reconfirm my initial belief. Trust is this amorphous concept that we all know but we all may define a little differently.
So I took the idea to my trainings. During a module on building trust, I ask a group to write a definition of the word.
I enjoy the conversation I eavesdrop on. I have overheard participants discuss the idea from the noun, verb, and adjective angles. At the end, they always come up with a definition, but I have NEVER gotten the same definition twice. But there were a couple that really stuck out to me:
“Trust is the expectation of predictability.”
“Trust is a feeling or connection that creates a bond rooted in certainty, reliability, and consistency. There is no timeline for creation or destruction: It is fluid.”
The conversation continues into how we build, break, and restore trust. It was that part of the activity that brought me an Ah-Ha moment (what I am always trying to create for my audience!).
A client that had been to several of my programs responded to the question, “How is trust broken in organizations?” She nonchalantly said, “Spying”. I made a confused, questioning face at her like, “What do you mean? Spying?!?” Thinking, that doesn’t really happen, does it? She replied, “You know…Be my eyes and ears,” and suddenly I understood.
People use this phrase all the time. But that doesn’t make the actual practice correct. We often do things that we think are just a part of the way the business world works — but really, these things are eroding the trust of the people around us.
I’ve referenced the Four Pillars of Trust in past blogs: Authenticity, Vulnerability, Transparency, and Consistency. Each of these pillars is an integral part of building trust with those around you – none can be neglected.
If you want to build trust, you also have to hold trust. Consider how your words and behaviors may have different interpretations. Prevent those actions that can erode the trust of those around you. Read more about the Four Ways to Build Trust here and make sure you’re taking the right steps in your relationships.
How do you define trust? What does trust mean to you? Share your definition on Twitter and use hashtag #TrustIs and tag me so that I can see it!
About the Author, Michelle Tillis Lederman
Michelle Tillis Lederman has been named one of Forbes Top 25 Networking Experts, is the author of three books including The 11 Laws of Likability and Nail the Interview, Land the Job. A certified ICF coach, Michelle founded Executive Essentials which provides custom leadership and communications training and coaching programs. A former finance executive and NYU Professor Michelle is a regular in the media. Appearances include NBC, CBS, Fox, Gayle King, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Working Mother, US News & World Report, Monster.com, USA Today, CNBC, and others. She holds degrees from Lehigh University and Columbia Business School. Learn more about engaging Michelle to speak at your event here.