A soccer coach once told me that after he has a meeting with one of his players he asks them to go to their dorm room and send him an email detailing what they took away from the meeting. Good communication is clear, concise and compelling. A lack of clarity in a conversation can occur when the words used create emotion or when the words used can be interpreted to mean different things by the speaker and listener.
That is why: Trust is a tricky word. When you tell somebody you have trust issues with them, it can create an emotional response because the person feels their character is being attacked. This is not a good first step to productive communication.
Trust is also a tricky word because it means different things to different people. When a company or a team tells me they have “trust issues” I don’t know if they are talking about a lack of sincerity, honesty, reliability, integrity, faith or all of the above.
Coach Wooden listed all of these qualities separately on his Pyramid of Success. He did not use the word Trust.
Rather than making the general ambiguous statement “We have trust issues”, use Coach Wooden’s list to be specific and clear about the challenge at hand.
1. Is the person sincere? Does this person truly care about your well being or are they just interested in using your talents to get themselves ahead? Can this person be counted on during times of need or do their values blow around in the breeze?
2. Is this person honest? Will this person do what’s right regardless of the consequences? Are they deceitful sometimes? Do they try to justify dishonest actions because of necessity or what others are doing?
3. Is this person reliable? Do they do what they say they are going to do when they say they are going to do it? Can you always count on their best effort?
4. Is this a person of integrity? Do they have purity of intention? Are they someone who would not do anything demeaning to anybody, anytime?
5. Do they have faith in you? Do they believe in you?
Who do you know that you can answer yes to all five of these questions about?
That’s a person you can trust.