The number of times the word ‘trust’ has come up in my conversations recently has been astounding.
Whether it’s someone seeking to build trust, trust being broken, or a recognition that trust was never really there in the first place, it made me wonder how we sometimes take trust for granted.
For such a small word, it’s a big thing.
Trust is that invisible thread that binds individuals, teams, communities, and businesses together. It’s the foundation of any meaningful relationship we have.
So why don’t we spend more time purposefully looking to strengthen the trust we have with others?
If invested in, trust can be our greatest asset, and ally.
Here’s my thoughts as to why:
Trust as the North Star
Trust is a powerful and mighty force. Think of it as your business’s North Star, guiding you through every relationship you build and every decision you make.
In a working world that’s often transactional and functional, where we deal through screens and contracts, trust remains the invisible force between our intentions and someone else’s expectations of us.
But trust goes beyond this transactional level; it’s about sharing values, understanding others, and making deep connections.
In life, we trust our loved ones to support us when things are tough. In business, customers trust brands to deliver on their promises.
Building and maintaining trust is essential, for anyone who wants to move through the world with any sense of meaning.
The Currency of Business
In the world business, trust is our currency to make things happen. Whether it’s new deals, new ideas, or new clients, trust is the essential foundational layer that enables growth.
Without trust, stuff may get done, but not to the level it could be. Imagine doing a negotiation without trust – it would be like building a house on quicksand – unstable, unpredictable, and likely to fall apart.
Trust doesn’t get built overnight. It takes time, authenticity, and continuous effort – from both sides. It takes a degree of vulnerability to let someone in enough so they can see who you really are.
Just as you wouldn’t expect to forge a life-long friendship in a day, you wouldn’t expect your clients or partners to trust your brand immediately. But when they do, the rewards are invaluable to both parties.
Trust leads to repeat business, referrals, and brand loyalty – all essential components for any business to succeed. And in life, it leads to deep connection and relationships.
Trust and Authenticity
To gain trust, you must be authentic. You have to be ‘you’, and if you’re not – people can tell. True authenticity is the quality that makes your brand relatable and trustworthy.
It’s about being true to your values, being transparent about your intentions, and being willing to hold your hands up if a mistake gets made.
Any business leader has to lead by example and show their team and clients what authenticity looks like in action. When you make a mistake, own up to it. When you achieve a milestone, celebrate it with humility.
Authenticity isn’t about being perfect; it’s about being genuine.
As Brené Brown says, ‘Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go who we think we’re supposed to be, and embracing who we are’.
Building Trust Internally
Trust isn’t limited to external relationships with clients or partners. It’s equally vital within your business. When your team trusts you as a leader, they’re more likely to be engaged, productive, and committed to its success.
It takes time to build trust with individuals and as a collective. Get to know your team members – not just on a superficial level. Get to know their strengths, development areas, motivations and preferences. Listen to understand, not to respond. Value them for who they are, and don’t try and change them into someone they’re not.
Recognise that trust is a two-way street. Just as you expect your team to trust your leadership, they expect you to trust their expertise and judgment. Delegate and empower with confidence, and show them that you value their worth.
Maintaining trust takes consistency and is an ongoing process. In any relationship, trust will be tested, particularly during challenging times. It’s during these times that the trust in your relationships become more important than ever. Remain transparent, accountable, and open to feedback.
Trust takes time to build, but only a moment to break. It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to re-gain trust once it’s broken. Keep attuned to your clients’ needs and concerns. Continually seek feedback and adapt when needed.
By demonstrating a commitment to improvement, you reinforce the trust your clients have placed in your brand.
The Trust Continuum
In both life and business, trust isn’t a tangible, static concept. It exists on a continuum that ranges from initial trust, where individuals grant you the benefit of the doubt before they know the real you, to deep trust, where your actions are congruent and aligned with your words.
It’s a journey that requires patience and effort- from both sides.
As a business leader, your ability to navigate the trust continuum will ultimately determine your success. Embrace trust as your North Star and remember that authenticity is the compass that keeps you on course.
Don’t take trust for granted. Don’t assume trust is there when it isn’t. Regularly ask yourself ‘How can I build and strengthen my trust with others?’
In the end, trust is the invisible force that transforms our lives and businesses from ordinary to extraordinary.
#PeopleFirstAlways #EmpowerLeadership #Trust