We all have multiple roles; and there is a brand that accompanies each of those. We have a brand as a parent, a business owner, a spouse, a trusted advisor, a leader. While the responsibilities are certainly different, there is a common element in how well received each of those “brands” are in their respective marketplace.

That element is Trust. And that trust comes from consistent and predictable behavior on our part. It’s broken more easily than it’s built, but here are some ideas that you can put into practice that will help you in the construction process.

Let’s agree that trust has two major components: Character and Competence. From a character standpoint, those passing judgment on how well you can be trusted are looking at two factors: Integrity and Motive. 

Integrity can have several definitions, but here we’re talking mainly about consistently keeping your word (honoring your brand promises) with those involved with you on a day to day basis. Here are suggestions on how to make that happen:

  1. Only make promises you intend to keep (not quite as obvious as it may sound!)
  2. Only promise what you can deliver.
  3. Do what you said you would do when you said you would do it.

As for motive, make your personal agenda transparent. A hidden agenda makes you look manipulative to others. How well do you like to be manipulated?

Competence is all about producing results. According to some authors (Covey et al.), competence includes several factors: Talent (Natural), Attitudes (leanings), Skills (learned), Knowledge (acquired), and Style (personal delivery mechanism).

Both Character and Competence will determine how well your brand plays out. We have all seen well intentioned people with impeccable character who just couldn’t deliver the goods. And we’ve also seen people who can produce but leave a stream of casualties in their wake. Most of us would not trust either group.

So, if you want to have a high degree of trust, you’re just going to have to work at it. Your past performance opens the door to being trusted (or not), but while we’re willing to allow people to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, that same principle doesn’t extend to trust. 

Trust. Never take it for granted. Never leave home without it.

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