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Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Do People Trust You? Advice for Building Trust and Inspiring Confidence

Do People Trust You? Advice for Building Trust and Inspiring Confidence 1200 628 Michelle Boyer

One afternoon as I was passing through the airport on my way home, I ran into a colleague of mine, Stephen M. R. Covey, the author of the book “The Speed of Trust.” We stopped and exchanged a few pleasantries. I could tell that he needed to get through security, so I bid him safe travels.

As he was hurrying away, I yelled after him, “I know something faster than the speed of trust.”  He yelled back, “What’s that?” I responded, “Distrust.” He laughed as he hurried away and responded, “You’re probably right.”

Think about it for a minute. Some people will trust you from the beginning of your relationship without having any experience with you. Others won’t trust you no matter what you do; you really have to work to earn their trust. Still others begin their relationship with you in a neutral position. They will wait to see what you say and do before they trust you.

No matter where the trust in any relationship begins, what we know for sure is that it doesn’t take much negative behavior to diminish the trust that people have in you.

Here are a few tips to help you assess your trustworthiness and to increase the confidence people have in you.

  • Do you walk the talk?

There is probably nothing that erodes trust quicker than saying one thing and then doing another. The first time this happens, people will take a closer look at your behavior. But if it happens repeatedly, people will come to distrust you and not believe anything that you say. You will appear as if you just say what you think people want to hear. This seeming lack of credibility will cause people to question your intentions and can cause lasting damage to your relationships.

What to do? Stop and think about what you are about to say, or what purpose your message needs to convey, and then say what you truly mean. Being deliberate and intentional about your message will increase alignment between your message and your behavior.

  • Do you keep your commitments?

This is closely associated with the previous question.  Sometimes we make commitments and things change. When this happens, it is important to acknowledge your commitment and make necessary adjustments. If you let another commitment take priority over a previous commitment and don’t manage that dynamic, then people will learn to not take you seriously and may not keep their commitments to you.

What to do? Keep a calendar of your commitments and manage them. If something changes, then be sure to communicate those changes and make new arrangements as soon as you can.  Don’t blow people off or forget to keep your commitments. Using some kind of planning or calendaring software will help you to keep your commitments while strengthening the trust that others give you.

  • Is your behavior consistent?

If you have wild mood swings and are unpredictable, your erratic behavior will lead people to distrust you. In one of my first corporate positions, I had a manager who had broad swings in behavior and mood. You never knew if your performance would be celebrated or trashed in front of others. The first person to arrive in the morning would test the waters and then alert everyone at the coffee machine if we could engage with our manager or should make ourselves scarce that day.  Consequently, few people felt that they could fully trust him.

What to do?  Notice if people approach you and ask for your input or support on their work.  If you are not approached by others, perhaps you could find a respected colleague and ask for feedback about how you come across.  If someone will be honest with you, listen to what they have to say.  Ask for examples and thank them when they finish.  If you find that people are unsure about how to approach you, strategize some ways to manage your behavior and mood so it is more predictable and consistent.

  • Do you misrepresent the truth?

This happens more frequently than people would like to admit.  People are often afraid to speak up and tell it like it is, fearing the perceived negative consequences that could occur. This perception will have a negative impact on behavior. When people don’t keep their commitments or meet expectations of performance, then they feel forced to cover their mistakes to justify their behavior. This leads others to avoid interacting with those individuals and to distrust the stories they offer as excuses for their behavior.

What to do? If you find yourself misrepresenting or exaggerating situations, then you are at risk to not be taken seriously and are setting yourself up to be distrusted.  Stretching the truth and making excuses can become a habitual response. If this is often your first reaction, recognizing your tendency to do it, determining your motivation behind this response and correcting it will go a long way toward building trust.

  • Do you withhold information from others?

This is usually a power play of sorts where people make themselves the gatekeeper of what others need to know to do their work. Such behavior leads to frustration on the part of others and also can lead to people not sharing information that you may need. Withholding information also leads people to figure out how to work around you so they have as little interaction as possible.

Sometimes, for legal reasons, you may not be able to tell others what you know. When this is the case and others press you for information, you simply need to tell people that you can’t tell them about a certain situation because of legal ramifications to you and your company.

What to do? Ask people what information they need and, specifically, identify deadlines. Look to offer support and address others’ needs and concerns to increase the success of those that rely on you in some way. When people ask you for information that you can’t share, simply manage the situation and tell them that. They will understand.

  • Do you gossip about others?

Nothing will erode trust quicker than talking about others behind their back. Unfortunately, people often talk about others rather than to others. When you gossip, your behavior tells your listener that if you would talk about someone else, then you would also talk about them. Although they may listen to you and engage in the gossip, they won’t trust you. This kind of behavior ruins relationships, destroys company culture and creates emotional drama that everyone would rather avoid.

What to do?  Stop it. If you have an issue with someone, talk to the person you need to talk to and avoid the rumor mill that puts people on negative alert but never solves the problem. Otherwise you will just get more of the same – poor results and no trust.

  • Do you throw others under the bus?

This behavior usually takes place when someone is trying to avoid responsibility or accountability for the results that were created. Sometimes, when others have not kept their commitments to you, their behavior has a direct negative effect on your results. When this is the case, ask yourself, “Did I manage the situation in such a way that kept them from being successful? Did I do my part to help them to be successful and to achieve the desired results?” Sometimes we become so busy and have so many things to do that we fail to manage a person or a situation in an optimal fashion.

What to do? Be responsible and take accountability for managing others, facilitating activities that will produce the desired results. When things don’t go as planned, examine your part in the process and accept ownership. Doing so will go a long way to creating and strengthening trust.

  • Do you keep confidences?

Someone once told me that there is no such thing as a secret until the person you told it to is dead. If someone shares something sensitive and important with you in confidence, unless there is a specific and legal reason not to, you should keep those things confidential. If you are going to share something important with another person, you should assume that sometime or somewhere what you share will be shared with someone else.

  • Are you supportive of others?

Nothing increases trust like being sincerely interested in and supportive of others and their efforts. If you are a leader and you frequently ask people what they need from you and how you can help and support them, they will feel the satisfaction that comes in knowing someone cares about them and their success. That care and concern will translate into increased trust.

What to do?  Check in frequently and offer support. This will afford you the opportunity to get to know them, how they are doing and what you can help them with.  Making interpersonal connections such as these will improve their work and their performance.

Our interactions with others serve either to build trust within our relationships or call it into question. Recognize that what you do and say is the first step in building and strengthening trust. As you consciously work to increase others’ confidence in you, your interactions will improve and you will achieve greater results. And, you’ll never have to worry about the speed of distrust.

Connect with John R. Stoker on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

10-14-2021 Questions and Answers

10-14-2021 Questions and Answers 1200 628 Michelle Boyer

Q: Where does the Council get its support?

A:  According to the Rule, Part III, Statute 24, “The authority to manage the Society’s assets remains exclusively with the Councils …” This statute goes on to say, “Councils may determine annually the percentage of the funds of each Council or Conference within their area that may be made available to them …”

Chapter 2 of the Manual, page 26, subheading ‘Funds of the Conference’ states, “Conference members should never adopt the attitude that the money is theirs …” In addition, under ‘Donation of Conferences’ it reads, “Surplus funds should be shared generously with needier Conferences or the special works of the District.”

Additionally, Councils are free to operate their own stores, raise funds from the public, and to generate their own funds through events and other revenue-generating activities.

Q:  The solidarity contribution assessment for stores is based on their total revenue (normally total sales), and not on their profits (sales minus expenses). Correct?

A:  Yes, on the Stores Report there is a line item titled “Total Revenue” (not “Total All Store Income”) that is used to determine the solidarity assessment for a store. Expenses do not come into play in the solidarity calculation.

Spanish Questions & Answers

P: ¿Dónde obtiene el apoyo el Consejo?

R:  De acuerdo con la Regla, Parte III, Estatuto 24, “La autoridad para administrar los bienes de la Sociedad es exclusiva de los Consejos…” Este estatuto continúa diciendo, “el Consejo…puede determinar anualmente el porcentaje de los fondos que pueden estar disponibles para ellos de cada Consejo o Conferencia dentro de su área.”

El capítulo 2 del Manual, página 26, subtítulo ‘Fondos de la Conferencia’ establece: “Los miembros de las conferencias nunca deben adoptar la actitud de que el dinero les pertenece a ellos …” Además, en “Donación a la Conferencias” se lee: “Los fondos extras deben ser compartidos generosamente con otras Conferencias con más necesidades o en los Trabajos Especiales del consejo o del distrito.”

Además, los Consejos son libres de operar sus propias tiendas, recaudar fondos del público y generar sus propios fondos a través de eventos y otras actividades generadoras de ingresos.

P: La evaluación de la contribución solidaria para las tiendas se basa en sus ingresos totales (normalmente ventas totales) y no en sus ganancias (ventas menos gastos). ¿Correcto?

R:  Sí, en el Informe de Tiendas hay una línea titulada “Ingresos Totales” (no “Ingresos totales de las tiendas”) que se utiliza para determinar la evaluación de solidaridad para una tienda. Los gastos no entran en el cálculo de la solidaridad.

How To Avoid Confusion With Clear Communication

How To Avoid Confusion With Clear Communication 1200 628 Michelle Boyer

Under-communication is a consistent problem in nearly every business. You can solve that by taking ownership of the communication happening around you.

I’ve worked with more than my share of poor communicators over the years. One was a boss who rarely shared information and never in a timely way. My office happened to be in a different building than his, so getting to our weekly one-on-one meeting took a little effort. Each week, I prepared a status report on my major projects, developed a list of answers I needed to make progress, and drove to the office in time for the meeting.

I can’t tell you how many times I was greeted by his assistant with a pained expression. “I’m so sorry,” she’d say. “He had to step out.” Not only did he cancel most of our meetings, but he did so without notice.

When we did meet, he provided little or no clarity. And he dodged most of my questions with “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” It was maddening!

Most under-communication is inadvertent. People are simply unaware of the gap between what’s in their mind and what’s in yours, and you suffer from that same lack of awareness. In fact, a team of researchers writing in the Journal of Political Economy labeled this phenomenon “the curse of knowledge.” It means that when you know something, it’s very hard to remember that other people don’t.

Fortunately, the solution is remarkably simple. All you have to do is step up and take responsibility for all the communication that comes from you or to you. Here’s how:

Determine To Be The Solution
Most of us are not fully aware of our own part in the communication quagmire. We may expect others to do all the work of conveying information. The first step in communicating clearly is to determine to be the solution, not the problem. Are you ready to champion clear communication in your workplace?

Externalize Your Thinking
The curse of knowledge affects everyone, including you. As a result, we don’t communicate or don’t communicate enough. Be aware of the gap between your understanding and that of your team. Stop assuming that people know what’s important or what needs to be done. Get your thoughts out of your head where others can read or hear them.

Push For Clarity
Before you compose your message (or say it out loud), ask yourself, “How can I set the other person up for success?” Before you hit send, reread the communication to be sure it’s clear. Would you know exactly what you meant? Clarity is vital for communication. Sometimes that will mean pushing others for clarity. Remember, they also suffer from the curse of knowledge and may have a tendency to omit information or use ambiguous language. Gently ask them to make their meaning clear.

Confirm Understanding
Communication hasn’t really happened until the other person not only receives your words but also understands them. You can request a “read receipt” when you send a message, but you also need to get an “understand receipt.” You can do that with questions like “Is anything unclear about that?” or “What do you understand based on what I’ve said?”

Actually, you can’t over-communicate. Or at least it is pretty hard to do.  People are busy and distracted. They forget things they should remember – things they want to remember. Communication is not a one-and-done event. Communicate again. And again.

What would it be like to come to work in a place where you never had to go on a deep dive for the information you need to do your job? How would it change the culture of your office if everyone was clear, direct and intentional in their communication? Why not take responsibility for making that happen and find out?

10-07-2021 Questions and Answers

10-07-2021 Questions and Answers 1200 628 Michelle Boyer

Q:  What are the consequences if a Conference refuses to make Home Visits?

A:  No consequences are imposed. However, as Council leaders we must continue to encourage and advocate the fact that Home Visits are what makes us unique and unlike other charitable organizations. The Rule, Part III, Statute 8 clearly states: “Visits to those in need should be made in their environment.” We recognize that personal safety, COVID and other local factors may make such visits at times difficult to achieve. There are also some Conferences organized as Special Works Conferences. Leaders are asked to do their best to help members grow in spirituality though the experience of our basic Home Visit, conducted as “close to the customer” as possible.

Q:  Is the Society okay with Conferences using their Archdiocese parishes revolving accounts (PRF) instead of savings accounts?

A:  PRF accounts are acceptable if they are not comingled with parish funds, SVdP has sole access to the funds, and the funds are accessible immediately. These sort of agreements are rare; often the Pastor has funds access. Therefore such accounts must be viewed with great scrutiny and backed up with strong documentation.

Spanish Questions & Answers

P: ¿Cuáles son las consecuencias si una Conferencia se niega a realizar visitas domiciliarias?

R:  No se imponen consecuencias. Sin embargo, como líderes del Consejo, debemos continuar alentando y defendiendo el hecho de que las visitas domiciliarias son lo que nos hace únicos y diferentes a otras organizaciones caritativas. La Regla, Parte III, Estatuto 8 establece claramente: “Las visitas a aquellos en necesidad deben hacerse en su ambiente.” Reconocemos que la seguridad personal, el COVID y otros factores locales pueden hacer que, en ocasiones, estas visitas sean difíciles de lograr. También hay algunas Conferencias organizadas como Conferencias de Trabajos Especiales. Se pide a los líderes que hagan todo lo posible para ayudar a los miembros a crecer en espiritualidad a través de la experiencia de nuestra visita domiciliaria básica, realizada lo más “cerca del cliente” como sea posible.

P: ¿Está la Sociedad de acuerdo con que las Conferencias utilicen las cuentas rotativas parroquiales de la Arquidiócesis (PRF) en lugar de cuentas de ahorro?

R: Las cuentas de PRF son aceptables si no están combinadas con fondos parroquiales, SVdP tiene acceso exclusivo a los fondos y los fondos son accesibles de inmediato. Este tipo de acuerdos son raros; a menudo, el pastor tiene acceso a fondos. Por lo tanto, estas cuentas deben ser examinadas con gran escrutinio y respaldadas con documentación sólida.

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