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Tips for Addressing Trust Issues

Updated: May 6, 2022

I dislike breakdowns in trust. They cause me to lose sleep at night and lose focus during the day.

Yet, I found myself grappling with a sticky trust issue a few days ago.

Rather than suffer a bad situation or wait for the other person to act, I considered my options for how to repair the breakdown and then took action.

If you’re stuck and want things to be better, don’t wait for the other person to make the first move. Instead, try the following:

1. Identify the source of the trust issue. Is it about:

- Commitment? (I don’t believe you really want to do this.)

- Competence? (I don’t believe you have the necessary skills or experience.)

- Capacity? (I don’t believe you have the time, bandwidth, or resources.)

Then, do one or both of the following:

2. Talk to the other person about what, specifically, you don’t trust. For example, “I trust your sincerity. I worry that you don’t have the experience. Let’s talk about how to build trust here.”

3. Change how you think about the issue. When it happens again – and it very well might, how will you respond differently? How can you interpret what happens so that you get satisfactory results?

In my encounter the other day, I decided that I trust the other person’s commitment; I don’t trust her capacity.

She’s so busy that she’s likely to forget again.

When it happens, I can choose a response that’s consistent with my values and frees me to take steps toward achieving what I really want: a trusting relationship, influence in shared decisions, and greater autonomy.

How do you handle trust issues? Share your thoughts or contact me for help building trust at work.

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