“We are all resigned to the fact that death comes to us all in the end. What is far less certain is how we will go.
But thanks to the wonder of statistics we can take a tour of the globe to find out just where you are most likely to die of what. Some are probably predictable, some will surprise you… and just to show that we are not totally morbid, you can also discover which country you are likely to live the longest”Tweet
Trust is a topic I often reflect on. The picture says a lot about the way trust can be understood. Initially I wanted to make this an image post where I find words hidden within values … but the nerd in me couldn’t leave it at that. So here’s a textbook account on the topic of trust followed by an opinion around the concept of trust.
How does trust work?
Some of the factors that trust is contingent on are context, integrity, and intent.
1. Context implies that trust is situational. This is easy to understand if we think about something that matters to us all … health or money. Let us take the latter as an example:
Let us assume you had an envelope in your hand with one million dinars. You would probably deposit it in a bank – because you trust the bank (the entire banking system is based on trust).
So you take your million and go to the teller and say “3indi eedaa3, I can has deposit?”
That teller is probably working 2 shifts, just out of college, drowning in debt, maybe battling last night’s hangover, and is thinking about how brilliant robbing a car in Grant heft Auto V feels.
Remove the concrete walls, the marbled floors, the hard wood desks, the prim and proper attire, and you have a regular Joe. Add a cap, a cashier, bright colours, panelled flooring, the smell of burgers and fries and you have the same person but working at your favourite burger joint.
It’s the same person … but the trust is gone, completely … because of context.
The perception of a person’s competence is coupled with the context of your transactions with that person.
That is to say a person is trustworthiness is situational – context.
2. Integrity is simply a concept of consistent actions – walking the talk. It is easy to relate to integrity – when it is not present, there is hypocrisy. It is important for people to perceive the authenticity of your actions to trust you. If there is a perceived difference in your espoused values and your enacted values, trust breaks.
Think about the manager that preaches an open door policy, but is dismissive and unapproachable. Another example is that person who rejects hedonism but is plastered in brand name attire and assess people with material measures.
Note: this is not right or wrong, but to build trust there must be a match between the two planes.
3. Intent is a favourite – nothing is more pervasive to trust than a person’s intent. Seneca held true that a benefit is only a benefit if the intention of the person conferring the benefit is virtuous – otherwise you are harming the beneficiary. We’ll leave it at that ;]
How does trust break?
The enemies of trust are numerous.
Favouritism is the first and related to integrity – if you treat people inconsistently you damage trust. Also under the umbrella of integrity is
Inconsistent communication – sending out mixed signal not only shows a lack of integrity but makes people question your competence.
Benevolence is the act of charity towards others – not to be confused with altruism which means acting in the interest and benefit of others. Being benevolent without reason (i.e. out of context) puts your integrity in question and therefore reduces your trustworthiness. Seneca advises benefits should only be bestowed on those worthy of benefit.
Ignoring the elephant in the room, also falls under the umbrella of integrity and competence (context). If there is a problem that is obvious and you are ignoring it, you will be perceived as incompetent, fearful and in denial. Taking the bull by the horn will show people that you have enough gut and courage to address issues – even if you fail to do so, you build trust just by trying (intent).
Lastly … rumours … there’s no need to explain why rumours damage trust >.>’ 7achy chai il ’6a7a ma minna fayda!
How do you fix trust?
So, you’ve broken the trust. Well done.
This is a prescriptive process to restoring trust … but keep in mind that building trust is an uphill struggle and breaking it is a downhill free fall … never the less here’s a parachute prescription:
1. What Happened?
Analyse through reflection about the problem, identify root causes and the process that caused the issues to build up. This goes back to Epicurus’s “An Analysed Life” – meaning that all your problems can be solved through reflection.
2. How bad is it?
Now that you know what the problem is, how much of your attention does it deserve. Did you insult the person’s mother or that person’s cow? Which of the two is more important to the person? Every situation is unique. Understanding the impact of the issue is critical. This will direct how you should take action.
3. Be humble, say sorry:
Regardless of the impact and the root cause – to remedy broken trust you must first communicate you intent to remedy. This is best done through the humble act of atonement – it takes a lot to say your sorry. It takes even more emotionally intelligence and self awareness to do that if your perception of the issue differs to that of the recipient’s.
4. Remedy the situation:
Fix it. Fix it by addressing the specific concerns that you identified in the second step with appropriate measures … bring a bell for the person’s cow for example …
Opinion on Trust
Not many people like it when I rationalise my view on trust … but as the adage goes, “if you’re pissing people off, you must be doing something right!”
Trust, in my humble and twisted opinion, is risky business. By definition, the nature of trust entails investing a part of yourself and becoming dependent on the trustee. Trust can bind us through tacit obligations and is but a notional description of aggregate subtleties in a relationship of shared but not necessarily reciprocated benefits. Of course with risks come big wins (or losses). If you are smart, you can leverage trust to benefit – who you benefit is a matter of moral choices.
If you are now (consciously or subconsciously) thinking about that one person you trust … and how that relationship fits in the blurb of a definition … ask yourself, how thin is the thread that keeps your relationship afloat? Can you make it sturdier using one of the three contingencies described in this post? Has it broken before? Did you fix it and was your method in line with the prescriptions here?
I’m just happy you’ve read this far into the post … [you've earned a nerd badge]