A Model of Trust

I’ve said it before (Trust: Build it, keep it and succeed) and will say it again, trust is at the base of our ability to lead others - you might argue that credibility comes before trust and I’d be O.K.with that.

In general we want to give people our trust. However, based on experience, perception, feel for the person, or something they’ve done, we hold back our trust a bit (maybe a lot) until we see that the person is actually trust-worthy.

I’ve had some more time than usual to read lately and I’ve found a couple great models that give a more concrete view of what trust is and how we can determine trust-worthiness. Here is one of them [The WBL Trust Equation, Jonsson, De Waal]:

Trust =  Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy + Relationship + Positive Intent

Self Interest

So, in order to develop trust we need:

  • Credibility is that we say what we mean in a way others can understand us and we stick to the facts

  • Reliability means that you walk your talk. You don’t leave a gap between what you say and what you do.

  • Intimacy (rapport) is that we put our heads and our hearts (empathy) into a situation. We respect the other person and are present and fully engaged with that person.

  • Relationship is about how well you already know that person. A strong relationship supports creating rapport; a weak or new relationship will require more of your time with the person building credibility, reliability, rapport and positive intent.

  • Positive intent is the degree to which the person we are talking to believes that the conversation is about them, their opportunities and their abilities to develop skills or overcome challenges

  • Self Interest is the degree to which we bring our own importance, agenda, level of comfort, strongly held opinions and beliefs into the conversation - they don’t belong in a conversation about the other person so leave them “outside”.

Building trust is “active” not passive. Trust is not something we can take for granted - there is a lot in it from the above model. It is up to us to create the environment where another person, or persons is able to give us their trust which we need to lead. It is up to everyone of us to protect and strengthen that bond, all the time.

I hope this helps makes building trust a little more tangible!