Friday, May 20, 2011

KeFactors Friday: Qualities of Trustworthy People

They keep their promises—not just to you, but everyone else in their lives, including and especially their children. This covers everything from tangible deliverables to intangible pledges of support. And if they see they can’t, they let you know as early as possible, and discuss alternatives. Also, they take it as a learning opportunity to improve on their own promise-keeping skills.

They’re disciplined. They’re self-disciplined. They understand responsibility. If they make a mistake, they own it and strive to never repeat it. They spend hours in self-reflection and thus build their own self-awareness.

Trust is a big deal to them. It’s a value, a daily consideration. It’s part of the question they ask themselves when they look in the mirror at night and ask, “Have I done my best today?” They’re not afraid to require it of their relationships, or to deliver on it. Be very wary of anyone who lives out trust in a situational or compartmentalized manner (eg, an individual whose boss can trust him, but whose wife and children cannot).

They’re skilled listeners, or they’re striving to be. Is this so surprising? They understand trust is psychological safety, and how can you achieve that if you can’t demonstrate you’re listening?

They perceive relationships as collaborations, and are very articulate about the gains and losses in achieving any “win-win” compromise. Anyone who sees “winning” as a zero-sum game is not trustworthy.

They perceive relationships as longterm bonds. Again, be very wary of anyone who sees trust as the situational commodity of a relationship.

They have long-term relationships in their personal and professional lives. In this, your Grandaunt Sallie was correct: For Pete’s sake, don’t “marry” the person who has a history of short-lived friendships. It points to an embedded haywire somewhere….All human relationships are flawed, complex processes, and the individual who has longterm friendships very likely has good relational skills.

Trustworthy people are individuals who “get it.” Look for signs of emotional and social intelligence, for habits of lifelong learning, as well as professional know-how and attentiveness to the customer’s experience of the work being provided.

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