Considering our firm’s ongoing discussions about trust, it’s no surprise we find the topic to be a common thread in everything we do. Every strategic plan, every crisis management plan, every brand platform and marketing message has trust at its root. You can’t have effective communications without trust.

We also know trust begins with basic daily relationship experiences. Aldo Civico, PhD suggests in Psychology Today that those foundational elements include being patient and flexible to build trust over time. Dependability, consistency and open communications create a sense of reliability and transparency. And, understanding that willingness to be vulnerable and trust others is a critical first step.

So, how do these ideas translate to business? One might suggest that trust begins at the top with business leaders who set the tone. David Horsager, author of The Trust Edge, suggests that building trust at the top level can impact the bottom line.

Following our firm’s first Columbus Trust Study, we published a basic set of “how to” tips on building trust, including focal points for leaders:

  • Be yourself. Show both honesty and humility. Your team needs to know you are just like them. Be willing to admit when you’re wrong. Showing vulnerability accelerates the trust curve.
  • Take the hit. Accept the responsibility for both the good and the bad from your team.
  • Build your team members up. When appropriate, praise them in front of their peers and superiors—applaud their efforts and results.
  • Follow through on your commitments. If you don’t, how can they trust you?

These basic ideas are just a baseline for leadership behaviors. Our tip sheet also offers pointers for building trust in your community, earning customer loyalty and creating a trust culture with employees. Visit Columbus Trust Study if you’d like a copy of the full tip sheet.

Meanwhile, we welcome your insights and comments below.

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