I want to be a trust activist. Being one is challenging though and raises questions on two fronts:

  • How will others know?
  • How will I know how I am doing?

Being a trust activist means:

  • Consistency of character: actions equal words, and words equal actions
  • Embraces the truth, tells the truth
  • Honest, forthright relationships
  • Solves issues in a timely way

Trust Gets Simply Complicated

Most believe trust is simple. Just be consistent in what you say and do. However, trust is complicated. We are surrounded by corporate cultures that thrive on political maneuverings. Communities embrace certain people because they meet some phony standard of appearance and affluence. The result is some may do or say things that don’t match their standard of trust. Trust becomes secondary to fitting in or surviving re-organizations and downsizings.

In complicated situations, simplicity rules. Remembering this is essential.

A way to keep focus on the simple power of trust is to write down your creed of trust. What trust principles will you live and leave by? Living trust is about how you exemplify it in your leadership and daily (inter)actions. Leaving relates to walking away from certain organizations or other relationships because you can no longer keep your trust creed.

Let me be clear. A trust creed is not about being arrogant. A trust creed is what keeps you grounded and empowers you and those around you to be better leaders and individuals.

My Trust Creed

I have thought about my trust creed for several weeks, and here is the result.

Trust CreedTrust myself.

By trusting myself, I understand my core beliefs and am comfortable in leading consistently by them. In addition to this, I know I have a position on certain issues and solutions, and I should be confident in what I think while being open to changing when better information and insights are presented. This is a mix of being confident in my present reality and being growth-oriented toward the future.

Be transparent in circumstances and information.

Part of transparency is providing all available information to team members so they can do the best, most complete job possible. Another part of transparency is being honest about environmental and market changes and setting a tone of “let’s work together” to solve with resolve. Embedded in each is a strong dose of empathy, listening intently to subject matter experts, customers, market changes, competitive shifts, and more. With empathy, the wealth of insight increases and fosters the responsibility of greater transparency in working with others.

Build relationships, no matter what.

All relationships can be tricky. We need them yet we ignore them when challenges arise. Work relationships turn to friendships so we don’t want to damage them, leaving critical issues unaddressed. We want to be truthful and transparent but will bearing all keep a relationship strong? This is why relationships are tricky. This is why trusted relationships are a must.

Relationships take mutual effort. Both must be calm in understanding and focused on what the real issues are.

Never leave an issue unresolved.

Kicking an issue down the road solves nothing, other than paving the way for delayed action and greater frustration. If I leave issues unresolved, I damage my credibility. Responsible leaders solve issues or empower others to resolve them. In both ways, tangible accountability is required. No sliding by allowed, only steps forward to reaching a solution.

This is my trust creed. As I read through my words, the first thing I notice is that I rarely used the word “trust.” In many ways, this is a good thing. Trust is known more by what is done than what is said. If I do each of the four elements of my trust creed well, then my trustworthiness should grow.

How Am I Doing?

Self-awareness and self-reflection are key leadership capabilities, so the first check is to ask myself the question on how well I am doing against my trust creed. My assessment is a solid B grade. Where I struggle still is in the relationship element. Although I build good relationships, I don’t necessarily address the challenges that arise in a timely and forthright way. I am still working on this and taking cues from Dr. Henry Cloud on how to do this.

I am an imperfect leader. However, I know I try to do my best in all that I do. Knowing what my trust creed is raises my standard of leadership and delivers a path forward in what I need to continue to do and what I need to do better. Isn’t this a key way to lead in more honest and authentic ways?

A Trust Creed Delivers

A trust creed delivers a core to how we lead and live. By writing it down, the words will ring through in our words and actions. A trust creed will hold us self-accountable and raise our standard of leadership. A trust creed simplifies what we need to do and will let us know when the next line we cross is the one to a better organization and more authentic relationships.

Whether you are an older or younger leader, take the time to write your trust creed. Take the time to define how you will lead and live in trust and then embrace your creed fully.

What is your trust creed? How are you doing against it?