10 Habits of Trusting and Trustworthy People

There’s an enormous amount of research on trust and trust in the workplace.  Casey Mulqueen, Director of Research and Product development for Tracom Group says, “Trust cannot be mandated, but it can be earned.”  Trust is an important need in business, especially when you or your organization is faced with changing, growing and innovating.   Mr. Mulqueen also points to the characteristics of leaders and managers who earn their staff’s trust.

“Leaders and managers can build trust by staying composed, withstanding pressure and regulating reactions to bad times, taking personal responsibility for performance, and maintaining a positive perspective.”

Trust and trustworthiness can motivate ourselves and others to guide teams along the path to achieving an innovation vision or goal.  Trust helps our adaption to new circumstances and changing priorities, thinking and acting differently to create ideas and concepts and being open to seeing our circumstances with fresh, new viewpoints.

Trust does not just happen.  It takes a give and take, learning and a level of change in ourselves for it to establish itself.  Trust and authenticity go hand in hand, that’s the catch.  You can’t fake trust.  It is purposeful and people are skeptical first.  We want to know that it is genuine — that our trust is authentic.

Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job, when discussing trust: 

"Without it, you can cripple or destroy your career.  When your boss and team members trust you, they believe you have integrity and character — and as a result, your career growth has the best chance for success.”

Again, it’s not enough to fake trust or go through the motions.  We have to be meaningful, purposeful and genuine. 

Genuine people don’t try to make people trust them.

Being genuine, is being who we are.  People have a great sense of who trusts them and who doesn’t.  More importantly, if someone doesn’t trust them, they don’t let it weigh on them.  The don’t let it get in the way of trusting others and will continue to do the right thing. 

Since genuine people aren’t always seeking others to trust them.  They continue on their normal course of business, actions, reactions and interactions.  They stay on the path of doing the right thing in any given moment—making the hard decisions, creating new ideas, giving honest and open feedback and accepting feedback as well.

Others will be attracted to your approach and as trust is built, the attitudes of the team will gel and trust will flourish.

Trusting people don’t pass judgement, ever

Trusting people are clear minded, which makes them approachable especially in problem solving opportunities.  No one wants to interact with someone who is close minded to other people’s opinions simply because they think that theirs is better.  Having a clear mind is crucial to problem solving in a collaborative setting.  It helps us eliminate the need to judge other peoples ideas and appreciate a point of view that is not your own. 

This doesn’t force us to believe they are 100% correct, but freeing ourselves of judgement allows us build out their ideas by contributing our own thoughts rather than overpowering their thinking.  Being clear minded helps us rectify that our ideas may not be chosen and we can agree to be part of the solution building process and move forward.

Generosity and Trust go hand in hand

We have all been in the situation where we didn’t have all the information…someone held something back from us.  This is a clear sign that someone doesn’t trust you, usually for reasons unknown.  If you are the last to know something, its probably a bad sign.

People who are generous with information and ideas are those that are willing to share the spotlight of success.  Trusting people are generous networkers, fountains of knowledge and information and with their most precious resource—their time.  They want success for all, not just themselves. 

Trusting people treat everyone with respect

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do in the organization, you are treated as the most important person in the world.  Interactions are meaningful and memorable.  They are the most polite and respectful individuals.  It makes you say that “they were brought up right.”

Trusting people treat everyone with the same amount of respectbecause they believe that they are no better than anyone else.

Trusting people have thick skins

They aren’t offended, easily.  They tend to see things through the most positive of lenses.  If somebody sees their ideas through a critical mindset, they don’t see it as a personal attack.  They see it as an opportunity to change their thinking for the better.  They use the feedback as a way to grow an idea rather than stop short.

They are able to take feedback, evaluate it, accept what works for them and put it to use.  There is no need for them to jump to conclusions, internalize the feedback deeply, feel discounted and plot their revenge tactics.  They take the good with the bad and focus on the good and leave the rest behind.

Trusting people put their phones down

Nothing can derail a conversation when, mid-sentence, someone pulls out their phone to answer an email, text message, or worse to post something.  The ubiquity of technology has truly turned our work life into a minefield of distractions.  We tend to rationalize these behaviors as “work.”  But can’t it wait 5 minutes?  Or even 30 seconds?  Trusting people put their energy into the conversation that is happening at that moment.  They engage fully, letting distractions like text messages not intrude on the moment.  They feel that the most important thing happening at the moment is the give and take of the discussion.  They immerse themselves completely.

When we interact with others and our phone is attached to our hand, it puts the entire interaction on autopilot and prevents a real connection to happen.  Trusting people attempt to make every connection and interaction the most meaningful part of their day.  

Trusting people don’t have egos

They don’t make choices and decisions or their actions aren’t driven by a need to be admired or revered.  They don’t need others to make them feel good about themselves. They don’t need the credit because the credit is due to the team.  The accomplishments are to be shared by all.  They are simply doing what’s at their core—being a great team member.

Trusting people aren’t hypocrites

They walk the walk and talk the talk.  They don’t preach, nor do the scold.  They are very self-aware and and can recognize their mistakes and even have the foresight to see their mistake before they make it. 

Trusting people don’t brag

They prefer to talk about other peoples successes and accomplishments.  They have a high level of security in who they are and what they have done and can do.  They gain energy from seeing other people do something that truly makes a difference.  They also know that when they do something spectacular, it will stand on its own merits and other people will notice and appreciate it.  However, that isn’t their goal.  Their goal is get the job done right.

Trusting people are trustworthy

Trusting people tend to gravitate towards others who they feel are trustworthy.  It is difficult to trust someone when you don’t know that much about them.  We tend to have a gut feeling, taking a thin slice from an interaction and make our own opinion about who they are.  Trustworthy people are usually spot on in their evaluation of other trustworthy individuals because they mean what they say and stick to their commitments.

Trust is the only thing that matters. trust in yourself, trust in your teammates, trust in your equipment.
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (#JE11)