For most new relationships, both personal and professional, I begin by trusting the other person. I often leave myself wide open, but I find that most of the time that when trust is freely given, most people will make sure they don’t lose it. Because while I may freely give trust to another upfront, it is virtually impossible to earn it back if you have later broken that trust with me.
There has been a lot of talk lately about our politicians, especially the President, struggling with maintaining trust. And in the case of most politicians, it often boils down to trust is telling the truth, and no matter how awful the news, being honest from the beginning. Anything else leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, and it is real hard to regain trust when you are caught lying.
I can almost handle something not happening as promised when after all good intentions, the plan doesn’t work out as first communicated. But when you want to lie about it, mislead, or draft a clever story to replace the truth, I can’t give you my full support again.
I once had a manager that was a real character in every sense of the word, and when it came to playing the game to win he pulled out all the stops. Difficult was one of his leadership characteristics, but so was honesty. Although he was more than a challenge to work with 100% of the time, he never lied to me. I can’t say that about everyone I’ve ever worked with, and so I trusted him and still do today.
A leader in the workplace, and in public service would do well to concentrate on building and maintaining trust if they want long-term success. Because once you develop a reputation for being untrustworthy, it is something you will live with forever.