Trust Money

I often feel indignant when people don’t give me the benefit of the doubt, or question my intentions. I know my intentions are good, even if I didn’t say it quite right or made a mistake in how I handled something. “After all we’ve been through, are you seriously questioning me?”

Here’s the hard reality.

Trust should never be assumed, and it must be earned in every interaction.

The danger of expecting that people will trust me is that I get complacent about making trust money deposits, and careless about withdrawals.

Trust Money Deposits

  • Declaring my intentions, every time
  • Listening to understand
  • Validating someone else’s experience
  • Getting curious
  • Caring about the person as much as the task
  • Following through on commitments
  • Apologizing for mistakes

Trust money deposits help support me when I do make a mistake or behave in an unexpected way.

But trust money withdrawals are very costly. Trust money takes a long time to earn, and a very short time to spend.

Trust Money Withdrawals

  • Focusing more on the task than the person
  • Discounting or redefining someone else’s experience
  • Making excuses
  • Blaming others
  • Turning conversations into competitions
  • Breaking promises
  • Minimizing your own mistakes
  • Making it personal when it doesn’t need to be

How To Keep A Positive Trust Money Account

  • Never expect someone to give you the benefit of the doubt, so leave them no doubt about your intentions.
  • Make trust money deposits in every interaction.
  • Minimize trust money withdrawals.

Compassion is the practice of demonstrating that people are valuable, capable, and responsible. Compassion builds trust.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2019

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People who are big on trust says it takes years to earn, and seconds to destroy. This seems ironically one-sided and hypocritical to me.

I’ve spent a long time earning your trust by following through on commitments, making good on promises and being honest with you.

Now I have a few questions for you.

  1. When I make a mistake, can I trust you to forgive me?
  2. When you are surprised by a decision I make, can I trust you to ask about my motives before jumping to conclusions?
  3. When you feel afraid or embarrassed about something did, can I trust you to be transparent with me about your feelings?

Can I trust you to trust me? This is compassion. This is “struggling with.”

Trust is not static. It is given and earned every day. Over and over.

Trust starts and ends with openness.

Trust is about behavior, not expectations.

Copyright 2017, Next Element Consulting

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Conflict Without Casualties: A Field Guide for Leading With Compassionate Accountability. This book is the foundation for our Leading Out of Drama program, a comprehensive guide for balancing compassion and accountability to build relationships that are safe, curious, and consistent.


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