Being Worthy of Trust

16 May 2018

It seems like every day there is another “crisis of trust.” Survey after survey indicates our declining trust – in our institutions, public and private; in our public servants; in the media.

And no-one offers a solution – one pundit may claim we should simply put aside any questions or doubts, and just trust – blindly; another may opine that there are very good reasons we don’t trust as much as we once did. But these opinions solve nothing.

In a November 2017 interview, Rachel Botsman, visiting lecturer at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School and author of “Who Can You Trust? How Technology Brought Us Together – and Why It Could Drive Us Apart,” offered the following:

“We don’t need more trust, we need more trustworthiness.”

Perhaps she is on to something. Perhaps the best way to promote trust is for us to make a conscious decision to be more trustworthy ourselves.

Most of us, I believe, act in good faith and out of good will. But are we paying enough attention to our own words and actions? Are we letting others down without meaning to?

Trustworthy people are easy to recognize – look for the following traits they share:

• Authenticity – they aren’t trying to be anyone they are not, nor do they put themselves above others. Trustworthy people act from a core of self-honesty which radiates throughout their actions.

• Consistency – while everyone has an off day on occasion, trustworthy people act from good motives as a matter of course.

• Integrity – they do the right thing when there’s no-one watching.

• Compassion – trustworthy people put themselves in others’ shoes, and then walk in them. They don’t make snap judgments before making an effort to understand the person and situation.

• Kindness – they consistently look out for others’ interests. Trustworthy people are never merely “fair-weather” friends.

• Resourcefulness – they are always looking for ways to learn, grow, improve. And, knowing there is room for them to be better, they inspire and support others to do the same.

• Connectivity – they gather and align themselves with other trustworthy people, and with those whose expertise can help them grow.

• Humility – trustworthy people don’t hog the glory – they make sure everyone’s contribution is recognized and celebrated.

• Availability – they go out of their way to make time to support others’ needs – they are there for them.

Trust isn’t terribly hard to gain – one-on-one, most people are generous of spirit, and a good faith effort goes a long way. But it’s even easier to lose – and once lost, hard to reclaim.

So, maybe we should focus on becoming even more trustworthy ourselves.

Let us light candles, rather than curse in the darkness.