They key to successful relationships, whether in our personal or professional lives, is the existence of trust.
Legendary Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz said:
The new player has three questions about the coach, which are the same questions the coach has about the player:
- Can I trust you?
- Are you committed?
- Do you care about me?
Trust requires effort to build, but can quickly be lost if not maintained.
We can achieve, and restore, TRUST in our relationships, however, by focusing on the following:
Truth – First and foremost, the truth must be present for trust to occur. It is the foundation for any relationship, and requires each party to be honest with one another.
Respect – Each party must also have a mutual respect for the other. Without it, we may take take the other person for granted and be dismissive of their ideas or feelings. A feeling of lack of respect is the one of the biggest killers in any relationship.
Understanding – As Stephen Covey stated in the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, “Seek first to understand, then be understood.” We may not always agree with someone, but trying to understand why they feel or think a certain way shows that we care and are willing to listen.
Support – A spirit of togetherness and teamwork is required to foster a relationship. Each party should know they have the support of the other, and know that each is willing to offer a helping hand, or ear, when necessary.
Transparency – While similar to the truth, transparency is providing all of the information with no hidden agendas. Here’s an example of how one can be truthful or honest, without being transparent:
A wine glass is halfway filled with wine. You can say the glass is half empty (or half full), and you are telling the truth. You are being transparent, however, if you say that the 8 oz glass has 4 oz of wine in it.
Trust takes time to build, and can quickly erode, but focusing on the tenets of TRUST can help us to keep our relationships on track.