The Power of Trust

It’s Thursday quote day! Here’s a great quote on trust that I’d like to challenge you (and me!) to live out today:

“The chief lesson I have learned in a long life is that the only way you can make a man trustworthy is by trusting him, and the surest way to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him and show your distrust.” – Henry L. Stimson, Former US Secretary of State

I’ve blogged before about the importance of a leader’s ability to both earn trust and give it away, but I really love this quote because it brings out an interesting concept.

If I trust another person without question, then in a way it puts the pressure on them to also trust. It’s like an unexpected gift that costs nothing so why wouldn’t you go along and also give the gift of trust back? It’s give-and-take common sense.

The part of this quote that I really like though is the second half that says “…to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him and show that distrust.” Wow. That smacks you right in the face, doesn’t it? I agree with this statement. If someone shows their distrust in me it makes me question the trust level I should be giving to them. Yet I am a very give-it-away trusting person. It becomes a “watch your back” relationship. Yuck!

Trust is such a powerful and fascinating trait. It brings positive power and influence when used in a trustworthy way, yet it can also bring a negative power when used in a distrusting way. And by the way… either of those can grow within your organization.

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