A Handshake
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

Years ago, a handshake was all that was needed to confirm an agreement or deal. Your word was your bond and you would never go back on it. I have a friend who agreed to sell his property for a set sum of money. When someone else heard that he was selling, he offered him more money for the property. What a great opportunity to increase his return on investment. Think of the good he would be able to do with the extra money. My friend sold the property to the first individual at the lower price because he had given his word. It didn’t matter to him that he could make more money. He didn’t try to get the first person to pay more. His word was his bond and a deal was a deal.

Sadly, a person of my friend’s character is more the exception than the rule today. We live in an age of very little trust and it costs us dearly. In his book The Speed of Trust, Stephen M. R. Covey identifies actual costs when trust is lacking and it’s staggering. Last week I wrote about breaking the cycle of criticism and negativity. This week I would like us to think about how we can build trust. Without trust, managing is difficult and leadership is impossible. Impossible because your followers are earned and you can’t earn followers if you can’t be trusted.

If we want to build trust, we need to start with the way we talk. Just say what you mean and mean what you say. Tell the truth and don’t try to spin things. Don’t try to manipulate things to your advantage by hiding details or distorting facts. We hear these phrases all the time: “People are saying,” or “Some people feel that,” but these types of statements only cause us to lose trust because they leave doubt or cause us to wonder. Be more specific when you speak. Which people? How many? Who are they? Just be real. Share some details and you will be confirming your comments as the conversation progresses. With each passing day, more trust will be built.

If you would like to hear more about how you can build trust, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 137 of The Next Page podcast as we take a look at behaviors each of us can live out at work, at home, and in our community.

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