According to Stephen Covey in The Speed of Trust, personal credibility depends on demonstrating character and competence. Are you credible and trustworthy? The quickest way to decrease trust is to violate a behavior of character, such as not telling the truth, while the quickest way to increase trust is to demonstrate a behavior of competence, such as doing what you say you are going to do.
Two behaviors of character critical to trust in marriage and in business are “talk straight” and “transparency”. In business these behaviors are about letting people know where you stand, disclosing information, and avoiding the appearance of hidden agendas. In marriage these can be summed up as “speak the truth in love”.
Speak the truth in love is a principle that recognizes the complexity of honest communication, especially in marriage. While telling the truth seems obvious, it is often difficult to know how to tell the one you love what you are thinking and feeling. You may be afraid of hurting his or her feelings, or you may be concerned about consequences for yourself.
Speaking the truth in love means saying what needs to be said to your partner and saying it in a way that communicates an attitude of love and respect. For example, when you are upset at your partner’s behavior, describe the impact of this behavior on you and others, own your feelings and discuss it without blame and criticism, and ask for what you want to have happen. You may not get what you want but you have now opened the door for honest conversation and you have expressed your concerns. Don’t demand a particular outcome, rather focus on the process and let your spouse decide how he or she will deal with the truth as you see it.
There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy, and civilization throughout the world – one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love.
On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. Yet it is the least understood, most neglected, and most underestimated possibility of our time.
That one thing is Trust. Stephen Covey, The Speed of Trust
Most would agree that trust in a relationship is critical to success. A breach of trust in one area of relationship or another is often at the heart of marital problems. Broken trust hurts your credibility and make intimacy impossible to sustain. Personal credibility is the foundation for having trust first with yourself and then with others.
In a coaching conversation today, a client talked about the struggle she is having trusting her husband because of past behavior. They are trying to move forward and rebuild trust but they have different perspectives on what’s appropriate . I suggested taking some time to define more clearly the behaviors they need to see from each other. What does acceptable behavior look like, sound like and feel like? This week I plan to blog about the behaviors that build trust and how to restore trust in your relationships once it is broken. Stay tuned…
I’m interested in your questions and also hearing what has worked for you to build trust in your relationship.