Why Do We Trust Someone ?

Why Do We Trust Someone ?

September 11, 2011 Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

Trust is something very natural...

Do you really trust somebody?

Now, ask yourself that question and try to evaluate what that exactly means. Is trust something like a feeling? Perhaps something like love or appreciation? Or is trust rather something like a rational decision? “Yeah, he’s okay. I know that he never deceived me, so I’m going to trust him in this question.”

Something like this?

I guess it is a little bit of both of them.
First of all we have a certain feeling whether we can trust someone or not. This feeling is due to the experiences we’ve made with a person. If we had enough situations which turned out as situations where our trust in someone was justified, we begin to unconsciously trusting this person constantly.

And that’s quite a nice relationship to another person, isn’t it?

In this article I want to give you as a leader of humans some advice what you can do to generate situations which lead to increasing trust in you. Always keep in mind that trust is the basis for any sustainable relationship.

In my experience trust is mainly based upon three things transpareny, authenticity and predictability.


Tell them why you’re doing something

Try to remember a time when you received a certain task by your boss. Did it make a difference whether you knew why you should do it or why your boss wanted to have this task accomplished?

In my experience it always made a huge difference because I felt like really partaking in the important processes and projects of the organization. The fact that I knew why I had to do something always connected my current activities with the overall strategy of the company.

That increased the value of my work dramatically. At least in my subjective perception. And this perception is the most important concerning my personal motivation.

Tell them your strategy

This leads to the second point. The tasks you delegate should fit together in some way while being part of a major concept like a department strategy.
A strategy has two great advantages:

1) Like I told you in the precedent paragraph, you’re instantly able to explain why one of your folks actually has to do a certain task. Everyone knows what is important and why special acivities make more sense than other ones.

2) You have a great concept for yourself to plan further actions in your department. When you’re an executive it is expected that you establish an ongoing process of improvement and development in your area. This is damn hard work if you haven’t ever thought about a framework for your department which tells you what to do next.

Tell them what the organization is planning

That’s another crucial point. The value of your department strategy directly depends on the degree in which it supports the major strategy of the organization.

So be sure that your folks know the actual situation of the organization including the goals for the future. It makes big sense to regularly inform your employees about the financial numbers of the organization and the insights the management derives from these numbers.

These insights are the fundament for your department strategy. Anybody will understand and support your stratgey if it’s built upon such a fundament.

Tell them what you’re doing

It is not enough to inform your employees, derive a strategy frome the company’s strategy and to delegate corresponding tasks. YOU must be part of this process. So you have to go ahead and take action. Give yourself the biggest and most important tasks, let your folks know about them and regularly tell them what you’re actually working on. This shows them how important your strategy really is for you.


Say what you mean and mean what you say.

That’s the basic rule for being perceived as an authentic leader.
The most important question in this context is … how do you achieve this?


There are two different sorts of congruency: internal congruency and external congruency.

Internal congruency

With internal congruency I mean the harmony of your inner voices.

Everybody has various internal voices which represent the different interal parts of one’s personality. Perhaps this sounds a bit odd but modern psychology has found out that personality is much more than we commonly think.

Probably you know these moments when you can’t decide what to do because you argue with different opinions in your mind which all seem to be right in some way. Making an authentic decision means finding a compromise deep within you.

When you’re really pleased with this compromise you won’t have any problems to feel internally congruent.

But in case you decide something without having found that compromise you will always appear as someone who’s not really convinced about what he’s saying. And you know what? It’s true. You are not convinced about what you’re saying. This leads to the second point.

External congruency

This means that your verbal and your non-verbal expressions don’t fit to one another. Your words don’t fit to your posture, gesture, tone, facial expressions etc.

This is normal when you are not convinced about the topic you’re talking about.

Now, think about your folks.
What would they think if you explain the reasons for a big upcoming working load while telling them non-verbally:” I’m sorry. I don’t know either why we’re doing all this here.” Not good….


The behaviour of a good executive (and you are definitely one of them!) is always predictable for his or her employees. That’s essential because otherwise your changing moods, meanings, explanations, judgments etc. would confuse your folks. Confusion leads to insecurity which leads to fear.

And fear is the last thing that you need when you want to build up a trustful relationship to your employees, isn’t it?

So how can you avoid this?

Get aware of you personal value and belief systems. Find out what is important for you and what you want to implement into your daily business.

In the best case you’ve accomplished in already implementing these thing into your strategy.

When not, you should additionally establish a list of criteria that represent your values and put it to paper. Each member of your team must internalize these criteria in order to behave in a way that you would like to achieve.

When you and your folks know these criteria, hold on to them and align all your statements and your actions with this criteria catalogue.

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Posted in How To Build Trust, Leadership Articles on Sep 11th, 2011, 13:50 by haukeborow