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8 Keys to Building Trust

Trust is like money in a bank account. it can take years to build up a level of trust and only minutes to lose it. I can help you deposit more trust in your account than you withdraw. Every successful athlete in the world has a coach to help them reach their full potential. Every successful executive needs a coach for the same reasons. Call me now for a free evaluation to determine if coaching is a solution for you!

In the best-seller “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey, Covey says and I agree, "there is one thing common to every person, relationship, team, family organization, nation and economy throughout the world – one thing that if removed would destroy but if built and leveraged has the potential to create unparalleled success in very area of life. That one thing is TRUST!" Trust equals confidence. The opposite of trust is distrust or suspicion.

Consider the difference between a high and low trust relationship, in a high trust relationship a person can say the wrong thing and people will know what was meant to be said. While in a low trust relationship a person could try to say all the right things and still be misinterpreted.

Trust always affects two outcomes: speed and cost. Take for example the time and cost of airport security after 9/11. When trust is high then the speed and cost of doing business goes down. In the acquisition of McLane Distribution from Wal-Mart, the deal was based on a two hour meeting because of the high trust and confidence in Warren Buffett. The merger took less than a month to complete and millions of dollars in due diligence and attorney fees were avoided.

While in some cases change and uncertainty can foster an environment of fear which leads to a lack of trust. Building trust and restoring confidence can significantly impact bottom line results.


“Our distrust is very expensive” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Key Behaviors of Building Trust from “The Speed of Trust”

  1. Communicate honestly

  2. Show respect

  3. Be transparent

  4. Show loyalty

  1. Keep commitments

  2. Clarify expectations

  3. Be accountable

  4. Extend Trust

1. Communicate Honestly

Be Honest. In communication, talk straight. Tell the truth. Let people know where they stand and demonstrate integrity. When we manipulate people or distort the facts it destroys relationships as well as our own self image. Spinning the truth or leaving false impressions carries the same consequences. Confront issues and address challenges quickly.

2. Show Respect

This behavior is the Golden Rule in action. This rule is recognized by almost every culture and religion worldwide. What is the impact of speed and cost as it results to respect? Showing respect directly results in bottom line growth. One of the most powerful ways to show respect is to listen and understand another person’s point of view or position.

3. Be Transparent

Be real, open and honest especially about motives and decisions. Surveys suggest that the first key to restoring public trust is a “spirit of transparency.” We are not being transparent when we withhold information, have hidden agendas or cover up.

4. Show Loyalty

There are many ways to show loyalty. Acknowledging people for a job well done or giving credit for an idea or solution will significantly increase trust and economic results. Also be loyal to the absent, talking about people when they are not present only destroys your own credibility.

5. Keep Commitments

Keeping commitments may have the greatest impact on trust. In a study on business ethics “keeping promises” ranked the number one behavior in creating an ethical culture. This may sound like common sense but it is not always common practice. Never over promise and under deliver.

6. Clarify Expectations

To be clear about expectations we need to create a shared outcome and agree about what is to be done - up front. This action can prevent frustration in the future. Clarifying expectations must be mutual, collaborative and agreed upon. We should never assume that expectations are clear or understood by everyone.

7. Be Accountable

Being accountable means taking responsibility or ownership. Accountability begins with us as we take responsibility for results and are clear about our expectations. When we are accountable we don’t blame or point fingers, we look for solutions.

8. Extend Trust

There is nothing that motivates or inspires people like having trust extended to them. When trust is extended, people don’t need to be managed they manage themselves. Extending trust is based on the principles of empowerment, reciprocity, and a fundamental belief that people are capable of being trusted. On the other hand people tend not to trust people who don’t trust them.

The truth is, in every relationship – professional or personal – your actions or what you do has far greater impact than anything you say. You can say you respect or trust someone but unless you demonstrate that respect and trust through your actions, your words become meaningless.


“The only way to build trust is by being trustworthy.” Gerard Arpey


Tammy Holyfield is the founder of Holyfield International, a business and personal development company. Holyfield International works with business professionals, entrepreneurs, CEO’s, managers, leaders and individuals from all walks of life, teaching skills that are proven, practical and get results. She is also a business and personal coach, professional speaker, author and consultant. For information on organizational solutions or to reach her visit or call 619-431-1345. Follow Tammy on Twitter and Facebook for more insights on business and leadership.

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