The ABCs of trust

I just returned from the international American Society for Training and Development conference (ASTD-ICE) and my head is full of ideas and information! There were hundreds of breakout sessions and the Expo was filled with vendors and resources. It reminded me of the onslaught of information and the demands a leader faces each day at work. With that in mind, I spent some time looking for practical ideas on trust and leadership that I could share with you that are clear, concise and easy to try. I think I succeeded!

Ken Blanchard, Cynthia Olmstead and Martha Lawrence have a new book titled, Trust Works! that defines four attributes of trust, the A, B, C and D of trust:

Able – can you do your job and do you get results?

Believable – do you demonstrate integrity?

Connected – do you develop sincere two-way relationships with people?

Dependable – do you walk your talk and follow-through?

What I found most valuable were the behavioral descriptions they provide for each attribute. Building trust is all about action and interaction with people. The behavioral descriptions make it easier to look at our own interactions, with an unbiased eye, to assess how we are doing building trust. To help get started, here is a link to their website and a short self-assessment you can take to identify your demonstrated trust-building strengths and opportunity areas – ABCD self-assessment

I learned I have some work to do in the connection domain. As an introvert it is my most challenging area and I can often overlook it and miss the impact it has on the relationships I have at work.

Give the assessment a try. I bet the results will help you identify your trust-building strengths and remind you of potential blind spots or trust busters! As leaders, we need all four attributes to build trust with our people.

Todd Thorsgaard


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