Your Personal and Professional Trust Quotient

Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on

Divorce and attrition – both are expensive and both are intricately connected to one’s trust quotient. The difference is that divorce is a personal matter, and attrition is a business concern. In situations where there is no specific event to blame, how does one explain compromised trust?

A highly trustworthy person immersed in a relationship with a perceived untrustworthy partner, whether at work or at home, will over time exhibit behaviors that likewise can appear untrustworthy. That is because one becomes more guarded upon discovering the other person is no longer worthy of his or her trust. So the question you must ask yourself is whether or not the other person you are reticent to trust is simply responding to what they experience as guarded behaviors in you.

Guarded behaviors include withholding information, eclipsing full information, eliciting information in indirect ways, and then questioning and double-checking when information is shared.  So what comes first, the chicken or the egg – i.e., you are either responding in guarded fashion to someone else’s questionable behaviors, or they have developed questionable behaviors in response to what they have perceived as guarded behaviors in you. This interesting phenomenon, known as reciprocal determinism, can help us understand how distrust, mistrust, and untrustworthy behaviors are all learned. The good news is that this means they can also be unlearned.

When the stakes are high, people tend to be motivated to change, which would suggest they would also be motivated to determine how much is them vs the other person. Separation and/or divorce can be expensive due to financing two households, not to mention the price of grief, sense of failure, impact on a child’s life, and so forth. Still, people tend to blame others rather than consider what might be their role in their failed relationship.  The same holds true at work, which is why leadership workshops can routinely help shed light on the topic through 360° feedbacks.

Many highly intelligent executives, investors, managers, or board members have been shocked to discover others perceive them as untrustworthy. I see it routinely in my work involving 360° feedbacks, such that any stakeholder in a business organization must consider that possibility. If you have any interest in corporate profits or monthly metrics, download this white paper from Trust Across America / Trust Around the World showing the researched relationship between trust and profitability as well as how to increase both With hard cash a proven function of trust level, one can no longer view trust as a soft skill. It’s a money maker.

Whether it is corporate trust or personal trust at stake, the work of restoring or growing it, starts at the level of the individual.  Fortunately, people become highly motivated to change when presented with insights connecting early family dynamics with their negative feedback involving compromised trust. Perhaps it’s easier to accept responsibility when negative feedback can be explained in part by early family-of-origin dynamics. Nevertheless, it is an avenue that opens the door to invigorating self-discovery that ultimately leads to relationship-and-team trustworthiness.

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