Trust, like leadership, is all about building positive relationships

Trust requires a relationship to be present. All parties in the relations are responsible for being trustworthy (personally) and trusting others (interpersonally).

Recently, I was with a group of leaders and they firmly agreed that “trust is something that should be earned” through behavior and decisions.  Trust is not a commodity, something that can be exchanged transactionally. When a new employee is hired, do they have to prove to the hiring manager that they are trustworthy? If that is the case, why did you hire them in the first place? The new employee is coming onboard and should have the managers trust immediately based on the interview process set up to eliminate any doubt of being trusted. As in any strong relationship, it is mutual respect. The more mutual respect you have for each other the stronger the trust relationship.

In any strong relationship, it is not one sided. You need all parties to be trustworthy, some want to point fingers and place the blame elsewhere, be it a leader or other department. This is a one-sided, self-serving approach. Healthy strong relationships begin with all parties being trustworthy. Let’s take a project team, there is generally someone in the team chosen to lead the project then the other members are brought onboard because of their skill and knowledge with the project. In order for the project to be successful, it requires trust from various areas; the team itself must trust one another, outside the team, may it be the users, the customers, the department or even the organization needs to trust the team to accomplish what they say they will accomplish and open to feedback.

Trust is a two-way street so let’s start asking ourselves are we personally trustworthy and can we openly give our trust to others