Recently I came across a very interesting post titled “What’s Your Trust Rating’” based on research by social psychologist Robert Haley. When it comes to leadership, trust is absolutely critical, in fact, I would go as far as to say that without trust you cannot lead.

The research identified 10 primary factors that can determine why people trust or fail to trust:

1. Risk tolerance: Some people are naturally risk takers, while others are just as naturally cautious.

2. Level of adjustment: Some people require a lot of time to develop trust, while others can embrace trust more quickly. Poorly adjusted people tend to perceive numerous threats in life.

3. Relative power: People in positions of authority are more likely to trust than those who are not because those in roles of power can punish those who betray them. If people have little authority, they’re more vulnerable and
less likely to trust.

4. Security: The higher the stakes, the harder it is for people to trust. It’s easier to trust if not much bad is apt to happen.

5. Number of similarities: We tend to trust people who are more like us, expressing similar values and common personality traits, than those who are not like us. The more different we are, the less apt we are to trust.

6. Alignment of interests: People want to know, “How apt is another person to look after my interests?” Leaders can’t assume that people in the organization have the same interests.

7. Concern for others: The problem among people is not so much evil as it is self-centeredness. People are more apt to trust you if they see that you’re willing to put others before yourself.

8. Capability: Competence is important. People are less apt to trust you, even if they like and are like you, if they sense you don’t have the capability it takes to lead.

9. Predictability and integrity: A person who’s consistent is more apt to be trusted than someone who’s unpredictable. Saying one thing and doing another creates distrust. Be careful not to over-promise.

10. Level of communication: Because trust is relational, open and honest communication is key. When there’s miscommunication, cover-up, secrets, and guardedness, people are less apt to trust.

When looking to build trust in your organization, be mindful of these 10 factors in trust building and ensure you and your team members are abiding by them.


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