On Trust

Oct 22, 2021 1 Min Read
trust among friends, trust, trust is earned
Source:Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash
Earn and Maintain That Trust!

Consider the evolution of our species. Of many other species, too for that matter. Throughout the different stages, we all have lived in a community, in a unit comprising multiple individuals. Since the days of our hunter gatherer ancestors, we had all learned to rely on others for a large part of our needs. The alpha males went out and gathered the food, bringing it back to the commune for everyone to nourish themselves. The ones that stayed in the commune had to tackle all other tasks – like make the tools and weapons necessary, do the cooking, take care of the young and elderly (at times).

The physical, biological and intellectual limitations of our bodies have hardwired us in needing each other, and by extension, in having to trust people around us. Now, we don’t trust everyone. We often look for signs, reasons and evidence to allow us to trust or not a person. We tend to trust those we know better a lot easier, or those that give us certain ques as to why we should trust them.

We trust because of evidence, experience, and perhaps at times because of a trust that is passed down to us from our family, community leaders / elders. We also trust because of a worldview, a belief in something or someone, or just the desire to be positive or optimistic.

Why trust though? Trust becomes crucial in interactions. We trust a collectively constructed view of the world. And we trust the values and ideals we have created for our culture within each community. We trust people we deal with – whether they are family, friends, colleagues, or customers, vendors, or any kind of business partners. We trust - perhaps less so today around the world - the politicians, the doctors, the lawyers, the educators, the business leaders. But more so than all, we need to trust the people we meet and deal with on a daily basis. Otherwise, paranoia can easily take over and consume us from within.


Relationships need trust. Trust is earned though. And working to nurture this trust and keep it up becomes critical. For some, it comes naturally. For some, it takes a lot more work.


Would you trust your colleagues to keep you safe? Image is by Igor Suassuna from Pixabay

Here’s my opinion. To cultivate trust among your relationships, personal or business:-

1. Stay true to yourself. Consistency and less pretension will ensure you are always operating from the same anchor point.

2. Be honest for better or for worse, when you need to give good or bad feedback, do it. Just be honest and say what needs to be said in a constructive, genuine and caring way, because at the end of the day you are doing it to help the other person. When you don’t know something, just admit it. When you are wrong, likewise.

3. Never break confidentiality. What people tell you in confidence, respect their wish to keep it to yourself. Try to help them, but make sure you never share with others what you just heard.

4. Always look for opportunities to help. We live in a win-win era. Everyone is looking for beneficial relationships and collaborations for all parties (sometimes, just for themselves). Look beyond that for a bit. It’s ok to just give. When a person needs something and you can give them that, just do so, or help them figure out a way to get it. And I am not talking about giving material possessions or money. It could be advice, time, ideas, help to get something done. Who knows, at some point in the future the favour might be repaid. Maybe not, but either way it’s ok.

5. Trust the other. I presume here that we ‘disqualify all the people that have proven again and again they cannot be trusted’. For the rest, show that you trust in them. You have to be open to trust others for others to trust you.

Trust can be a state of bliss. Knowing you can rely on someone is an amazing, heart-warming feeling. It makes us think we are not alone in this world and we are a part of something bigger. At the same time, we also need to be wary of those that continuously break our trust, and know how to cut them off. Because if you don’t, the risks may be high in more ways than you can immediately think…

This article was also published on Eva Christodoulou's LinkedIn.

Supplement the tips above with the 4 "Cs" in Building Trust in the Leaderonomics Media video below.

Dear employers, do you want to enhance your relationship with your employees? By engaging with them, it builds trust. Use Happily (or Budaya for those from Indonesia), an engaging app that keeps you connected with your employees . It has amazing analytics and also provides activities for employees to be fully immersed in the organisation's culture and values. To find out more, click here or email info@leaderonomics.com

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Eva was formerly the Research & Development leader at Leaderonomics. Prior to that, she was an editor at Leaderonomics.com. Today, she is the Product leader of Happily, an engagement app at Leaderonomics Digital. She believes that everyone can be the leader they would like to be, if they are willing to put in the effort and are curious to learn along the way, as well as with some help from the people around them.

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