Trustworthy – able to be relied on as honest or truthful.

Are you worthy of trust?

Can you improve your trustworthiness?

I want to make the case for being trustworthy and how to improve your trustworthiness.

To drive home my point, I will tell you a story of a time as a teenager I was not honest or truthful and therefore did not prove myself trustworthy.

My stepdad picked me up from school after wrestling practice. I had a blood-stained shirt and he wanted to know why. I began to tell him my made-up version of what happened. “I was messing around at the tennis court, and someone was chasing me, I slipped and when I went to fall, I grabbed the chain link fence and it cut the inside of my arm”. I had practiced this story and was convinced I could be convincing.

You’re Caught

He then handed me the hat I had been wearing when I fell through the ceiling of the wrestling coach’s office, the hat with my name inside the bill. Our neighbor and the principal of the high school had given it to him, I had neglected to pick up my hat in my haste to leave the debris of insulation, ceiling tile and metal grid scattered in the drop zone on the floor of the coach’s office.

You see our coach had taught us how to enter his office through the ceiling when his keys were locked in the office. I needed to use the phone before practice and thought I would try to enter over the wall and through the ceiling, however on this trip I lost my balance and crashed through the ceiling falling eight feet and landing on a trophy desk. Then with cat like instincts, I jumped up ran out of the office and skipped practice.

Lesson Learned

I learned a valuable lesson that day and the following weekends during Saturday school, the principal had calculated the cost of the damages and determined I owed the school my labor in exchange for the expensive repairs.

Be Honest

Honesty is truly the best policy. In my case had I fessed up with my coach, he may have handled it differently without involving the principal or my stepdad.

You have heard the saying “bad news doesn’t get better with time” if you have bad news to share, get it out at the earliest appropriate time.

Be honest even when the message is hard to deliver.

Be Dependable

  • Show up early to your scheduled appointments
  • Deliver the results you have agreed to and that are expected of you
  • Be at the ready when called upon

Trust is Earned

You must earn the trust of others through consistent actions. In order to be known as trustworthy you need to develop habits that show you can be trusted. Little “white lies” will erode your ability to be trusted by others. Agreeing to do something or be somewhere and not following through will limit your trustworthiness.

The Voice in Our Heads

You know that conscience will alert you to when you feel dishonest or untrustworthy. In my example I knew better than to lie and proceeded anyway with that “icky” and unsettled feeling you get when you are dishonest. My choice led to consequences and so will yours if you choose to ignore conscience, that choice will have negative impact on your relationships with others. The foundation of relationships is trust, so we must be trustworthy to create and maintain healthy relationships.

Be Determined to be Trustworthy

Make a commitment with yourself that you will be honest with yourself and others. When you slip up and get that unsettled feeling, apologize for being dishonest or untrustworthy and show actions that develop trust, you can repair your trustworthiness by being genuine and correcting your course. The sooner the better.

Want to learn other methods for developing character and becoming a better leader?

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Brian Brogen, Build Yourself & Then Build Others!