Trust is foundational to your executive presence and all successful business relationships. You need other people to feel comfortable about your motives and credibility to invest in you as a person – let alone to allow themselves be influenced or led by you.
Trust has to be earned, nurtured, and sometimes rebuilt. In their book the Trusted Advisor, authors Meister, Green and Galford introduced the Trust Equation (picture above) to show how we can enhance our trustworthiness.
Credibility refers to what you know and how you communicate it. Being knowledgeable, offering a point of view, showing passion for your subject – and speaking with self-assurance.
Reliability is related to your actions, how predictable and consistent you are. Do you walk the talk?
Intimacy is about the degree of safety and security that you manage to establish in a relationship. Can you be trusted with sensitive information?
Self-orientation is the denominator that can undermine trust. It refers to your focus – is it on yourself or on others? While often caused by insecurity, self-orientation can express itself in hoarding information, talking a lot, and competing for attention and recognition.
Trust in business and personal relationships requires good “scores” on all four trust variables. You want high credibility, reliability and intimacy, and low self-orientation. Think of a specific relationship you would like to strengthen. How do you measure up? Which variable can you start working on already today?