Damaging Myths About Trust

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Written by DATIS Guest

July 19, 2018

Damaging Myths About Trust

This DATIS Blog Article, “Damaging Myths About Trust”, was originally posted by Kevin EikenberryLeadership & Learning with Kevin Eikenberry, on October 31st, 2016 and was reposted with permission.

There is lots of talk about trust in the world today, with polls showing how much we trust people in different professions and roles. And there are ongoing conversations about how much trust people have in their workplaces too – and unfortunately most all these numbers are lower than we’d like them to be.

There’s lots of talk in the workshops I lead too – about the importance and value of trust, and what, if anything can be done to grow it between people, across a team and throughout an organization.

All this talk, and still plenty of misconceptions and myths about the nature of and facts about it.

That’s why I’m writing this post – to dispel the myths and help you on the path to creating more trust in your relationships, your team and in your organization.

Myth 1: Trust is a “Nice to Have”
Everyone will agree that trust is a nice thing. Given the choice, everyone would prefer it to not having it. But a real business issue? Nah.

Think again.

Real business issues like retention, employee engagement, Customer service and productivity have all been correlated with trust levels in an organization. All of those are hard business factors, and trust is a part of the foundation for each of them.

Myth 2: It’s Up to “Them”
B.C. Forbes, the founder of Forbes Magazine wrote “Better to be occasionally cheated than perpetually suspicious.” Inside of this idea is the proof that this is a myth. Trust isn’t just about us waiting for them to prove that they are trustworthy; for trust to grow, we play a part in this too. When we are willing to take a chance on others, they will tend to live up to that chance, and trust grows.

Trust will grow faster when we offer it to others first. Otherwise it might be a long wait. (Tweet That)

Myth 3: Trust Grows Slowly
Trust can grow slowly and often does, but it doesn’t have to – that’s where the myth comes in. I gave you an example in Myth 2, but I have more. Need another example? When someone does something big or momentous for you or even someone else – say pulling someone from a wrecked car, sticks up for you in a tense moment in a meeting, or any other of a hundred selfless acts – trust in that person grows immensely and immediately.

This is excellent news because if we want to build trust with others, we can be the person doing the selfless act; showing others that we are focused on them and their success. When we do that and it is seen as selfless, trust can grow very rapidly.

Myth 4: One Mistake Destroys Trust
Again, this myth is true, sometimes. If the initial trust is low, one mistake or offense may crater trust. But if the trust level is higher, one mistake will seldom destroy all past trust. Again, this is good news, as if you are constantly adding to the trust account with someone, you have a chance to withstand the mistakes you will make.

Trust is a big, emotional topic and I may have stepped on your psychological toes a bit here. I hope you will consider and think about what I’ve shared. There are likely other myths I could bust, but these four give you plenty to think about and act on.

If you would like to see more I’ve written about trust, here’s a list with links.