Guest author: Emily Sirkel, COO of the Dan Nielsen Company. Check out her personal blog, “Thrive,” at emilysirkel.com
Trust and trustworthiness; these two words are thrown around a lot when talking about leadership, teamwork and positive character traits. What comes to mind when you hear the word trust? Stop for a moment and seriously consider that question; what comes to your mind when you hear the word trust?
Do you consider yourself to be trustworthy? Most likely you do. Most of us think of ourselves as trustworthy. We do not deliberately lie or cheat or betray the trust of others. Of course there are plenty of exceptions, but I’m willing to bet that most people consider themselves to be fairly trustworthy.
Unfortunately, many people, no matter how they think of themselves, frequently fail to be completely trustworthy. Whether it’s neglecting to follow through on commitments, failing to keep their word, consistently being late, exaggerating or “spinning” facts just a little bit in their favor, or conveniently leaving out details that don’t support their position – people far too easily stumble into the trap of untrustworthiness without ever realizing it.
Most of us have had a friend, a family member, a coworker or even a boss who sometimes or often has fit the mold of untrustworthiness. These people usually aren’t deliberately being dishonest or even consciously choosing to break their word, “it just happens.” And they almost always have an excuse or a reason – “circumstances outside of their control” – for why they were unable to keep their commitments.
Being trustworthy isn’t just about not being dishonest, being trustworthy is about being reliable, being dependable, following through, taking your responsibilities and commitments seriously, and above all, being considerate of those whom your words and actions affect.
Whether it’s a spouse who repeatedly promises to do a household chore but never gets around to it, a friend who offers up a hundred excuses for why she never calls you back, or a boss who is never on time to a meeting, we are all affected by relationships plagued with various degrees of untrustworthiness on a daily basis.
It’s pretty easy to pinpoint those people in your life whom you don’t completely trust. However, the question we must ask ourselves is, “Am I always trustworthy? Do I follow through on commitments and always keep my word, or do I find and use excuses to justify my actions? Do I tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or do I exaggerate or sometimes spin facts in my favor? Am I considerate of other people and how my promises and actions affect them?”
I encourage you to take some time to ask yourself those tough questions and to sincerely and carefully consider your honest response to each. No one is perfect – myself included! But don’t let excuses keep you from being a person your family, friends, colleagues, coworkers, employees and employers can always trust and depend on! Don’t fall into the trap of untrustworthiness.
Next week’s Tips For Success will feature 4 great tips for building and maintaining trust from the blog of the talented and insightful writer and publisher, Michael Hyatt.