Cornerstone of Trust

One of the key attributes of credibility is trustworthiness. Think about it – it is hard to find someone believable if you cannot trust them. And as authors Kouzes and Posner (The Leadership Challenge) have written, “credibility is the foundation of leadership.

Trust can also be sliced down into a variety of attributes. After 25 plus years of working with this concept in the field of leadership and team development, there is one attribute which I vote as most important.  It is vulnerability.  If you really want to be totally trustworthy, you have to be willing to show yourself – fears, flaws and all. So the question for you is, how vulnerable are you willing to be?

How easy is it for you to say you are sorry, or to apologize for something? Can you ask for help from colleagues, direct reports or even a boss? Can you admit when you do not know how to do something vs. keeping quiet and nodding your head, giving the indication you do? How about offering up that you are afraid of something, whether it is about a new change, looking foolish, or even losing your job? All of these are examples of times that test vulnerability. Too often the ego gets in the way and we put on some kind of metaphorical armor to protect ourselves from the piercing arrows of others comments or opinions about us. That armor makes it harder to trust the person behind it.

If you want to be trustworthy, open yourself up, perhaps a little bit more at a time. I believe you will find there is nothing better for the ego than when others say you are a role model of rock solid trustworthiness. Good luck.

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