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Rethinking trust: Are you building or earning

Trustworthiness in Action.


Monday Musing: What if we rewrote the trust narrative, flipping the script from 'building trust' to 'earning trust'?


"Trust is the highest form of motivation. It brings out the very best in people."

- Stephen Covey, author of 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.'


In a world where trust colours every interaction, have you ever pondered who you trust and why? Whether you're stepping into an Uber, seeking guidance from a mentor, or collaborating with a business partner, you're essentially entering a trust agreement. But have you ever considered how this trust is established and maintained?

In a recent interview with global trust expert and 'Who Can You Trust' author, Rachel Botsman, I was captivated by her perspective on trust and particularly by her encouragement that we need to scrap the notion of ‘building’ trust and start talking about ‘earning’ it. 

As Rachel aptly puts it, “Trust can't be "built". It's up to others – friends, customers, employees, the public, your family – to GIVE you their trust. Your role is to EARN it by demonstrating you are trustworthy.” 

Rachel drives home an inspiring point: trust isn't built on grand, one-time gestures but rather thrives in the everyday micro-moments we create. These are the moments where leaders can shine, by displaying the traits of trustworthiness in two important ways: through their Capability and Character. 

Capability, in essence, is about how you get things done and encompasses two crucial traits:

  1. Competence: Do you possess the essential skills, knowledge, time, or resources to excel?
  2. Reliability: Can you be relied upon to be honest and consistently follow through on your commitments?

On the flip side, Character reveals why you do what you do and is embodied in:

  1. Empathy: Do you provide the essential support and care
  2. Integrity: Are your motives in alignment with your teams’ best interests?

Trust is the currency of connection, and when you earn it in the everyday, you're on your way to building a better world, one trusting relationship at a time.

Take charge of your Monday.



are you actively working to earn the trust of others, or do you expect trust to be given to you when desired?


learning trust in micro-moments. What could you do today to demonstrate you’re trustworthy?

Decide to:

focus on one of the four areas (competence, reliability, empathy or integrity) where you think you have the most opportunity to grow. How could you improve that aspect of your capability or character?

What small steps can you take to reinforce trust in the micro-moments of your daily life?

P.S. Want more trust-boosting tips and tricks? Join me on LinkedIn in today's Love Mondays More for a deeper dive into strategies to tackle trust-related challenges in the professional world!

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