How to Gain Trust – Simply Four Ways

By January 14, 2013Millennial

Gaining Trust - 4 WaysTrust as a verb means “to believe.” If you believe in something or someone, then you have confidence in them.

To gain trust, we must be believable so that another will have confidence in our ability to keep our word, do our part, and follow through on expectations set. It is what authenticity is all about – consistency of character through all actions and words.

At times, it seems we toss words about, and they lose their meaning or luster. Trust and authenticity may be at the top of this list. In social media, we talk about the importance of authenticity. In business and government, we talk about the principles of trust. We seem to try to make these simple ideas complex.

Trust is active through believing. Trust is maintained when our confidence in someone is consistently realized.

So, how do we gain trust? The answer is straightforward. We gain trust when we:

Keep our word. Our words need to mean something. What gives them meaning is how we back them up. It is about keeping promises, yet it is more. It is about doing what we say. It is about living the way we talk.

Keeping our word builds substance to our character.

Deliver as expected. Each day, we have responsibilities. When we deliver on them in a timely and complete manner, confidence is gained. Yes, it is about living up to our responsibilities, but it is also about a being solid citizen in our workplace, neighborhood, and community.

Delivering as expected adds depth to our integrity.

Follow through on actions requested. People depend on us. Work is a process, and each step involves another person. When someone falls down on their actions, the process is weakened, and results fail to materialize. Following through on what is requested or required strengthens a process and keeps activities flowing forward. Process or not, an action followed through on enhances confidence in our abilities and capabilities.

Following through enables the speed of trust.

Trust ourself. This one is foundational. To be trusted, we need to have the confidence of self. It is not about being cocky or going off half-cocked. It is about being fully purposeful in our words and actions, laughing at ourselves when needed and learning on how get better at all times. We need to faith in ourselves, in what we are doing and how we are doing it.

Trusting ourselves empowers our soul.

Stephen M.R. Covey states it best:

“Trust is equal parts character and competence… You can look at any leadership failure, and it’s always a failure of one or the other.” – Stephen M.R. Covey, The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything

No matter which generation we come from, trust needs to be engaged. We need to simplify our concepts but not our principles. Each generation has had trust challenges, and we seem to have more than our fair share right now. Through bailouts and fiscal cliffs, we may be less confident and less trusting.

The Milliennial Generation, however, holds great hope for a renewal of trust. With their social media savviness and social good actions, we have a lot to believe in. As they enter the workplace in greater numbers, the simplicity of trust will enable the authenticity of character.

As Lance Armstrong sits in Oprah’s redemption chair this week, it will be interesting to see what unfolds in his story of honesty. Lance is a past generation, and he distorted trust. As we look forward to the next generation, our hope grows in how they will restore integrity to new levels of action.

Join us as we explore trust in the Millennial Generation. We will have a panel of three millennials: Erica Olenski, Account Executive, Corepoint Health; Kelly Silay, Loyola University Chicago, Master of Social Work Program; and Michelle Siciliano, Project Manager at The Ken Blanchard Companies.

How do you explain trust to someone? What do you see in terms of trust in the next generation of leaders?

Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and highlighted as one of the Leaders to Watch in 2015 by the American Management Association. He also is the author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. Jon serves as vice president of marketing at Corepoint Health. Outside of his professional life, Jon brings together a community to inspire Millennial leaders and close the gap between two generations of leaders.
Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz

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Join the discussion 13 Comments

  • Sara says:

    Wow Jon, this is a very powerful statement which I believe most people lack to think about, I admit this has happened to me throughout my life but being in a very important relationship right now has made me feel confident in transforming on the areas I need improving on, trust is one of them, to trust myself therefore having natural confidence for the other person rather than expressing insecurity which automatically collapses the foundation. This also acts with love because with love comes belief and confidence and trust is what keeps that going, if you think about it, it acts like a branch from a tree, everything connects so therefore it’s always best to have a firm ground. This is where trust is placed. I have just found your site and already from reading this article I feel inspired and motivated to make this apply better in my life. Thank you so much for sharing this, it has really helped me on my journey 😀 have a good weekend!

    • Jon M says:

      Thank you, Sara, for your feedback and insights. Your tree analogy is a great one. We do need that solid foundation so we can branch off and connect in meaningful ways. Appreciate your thoughts! Jon

      • Sara says:

        🙂 you’re more than welcome, again, I thank you for showing this to those who could really benefit from it, I’m one of them for sure and I can tell you that I’ve had a few thoughts on this ever since I’ve read this article, I can already feel some transformation going on as I remind myself how trust is built- faith within yourself, believing in yourself, feeling confident therefore there are no barriers for trust. It’s so interesting when you think on how important trust is. And thank you for being able to see my tree reference 😀 I’m a very visual person and I often connect my thoughts onto nature since we reflect the changes from our environment. Honestly, I’ve subscribed to you because I’m confident in your words, you can say that this shows I trust you too 😀

  • January 30th Carnival of HR - "What Can HR Do for YOU?" - Strategic Planning Software | Kapta says:

    […] Jon Mertz of the Thin Difference blog writes that to gain trust, we must be believable so others will have confidence in our ability to keep our word, do our part, and follow through on expectations set. Read more about these four simple ways of building trust. […]

  • Suzie Carr says:

    Great post Jon. A business or relationship not built on trust will crumble eventually. Trust is that key element in our business and personal relationships, just as oxygen is to life.

  • […] is missing right now.  Jon grew up on a farm in South Dakota and now chills Dallas.  He shares How to Gain Trust – Simply Four Ways . Do them and you will be trusted.  Another Dakota amigo, Chris Young out of Bismarck, North […]

  • Great piece on a great “human fundamental” – that’s what I see trust as. It needs to be there in all areas of our lives. What you outlined is great, Jon, especially the part about trusting ourselves, as others mirror back to us how we see ourselves. If we’re unsure of ourselves, we can’t expect others to be sure about us.

    I’d be curious to see how the Millennials define trust. The popular wisdom is that they feel more entitled than previous generations, among other traits. So, at the risk of over-simplifying it, a positive spin on that is they’d expect things to work unless given reasons to believe otherwise. Does that translate into everyone–self and others–is trustworthy unless proven otherwise? Thanks for this thoughtful piece, Jon! Alice

    • Jon M says:

      Thanks, Alice. Appreciate your feedback and insights. I believe the Millennial Generation will inspire a new era of trust and use social media to hold people accountable. It will be interesting to explore this topic more on the show later today, and I am looking forward to it. We will definitely get into some of the questions you highlighted. Thanks! Jon

  • Randy Conley says:

    It really is quite simple when you boil it down to the basics, isn’t it? Be a person of integrity, keep your promises, follow through on commitments, show respect and appreciation for others, and be good at what you do. The basics you outlined are the recipe for success for a person from any generation. Looking forward to the panel discussion this week!

    • Jon M says:

      Thanks, Randy. Look forward to the panel as well. Thank you for participating, and congratulations again on being named again as one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders on trust. Jon

  • Trust is the foundation of any leadership study. No amount of intelligence, skill, or talent can make up for a trust deficit. Good post!

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