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Trust is the single most important thing in business… And yet, many people do not understand how to create it in a working environment.

How many people do not make buying decisions because they do not trust the salesperson?  How many employees do not trust the leaders of their organisation? How many managers are not trusted by their teams?  The list can go on and on and on….  The answers to all of these questions (and more) are quite simply not anywhere near enough!

For trust to have any foothold there needs to be a balanced combination of two important factors working together, namely: Empathy and Credibility.


Empathy being the amount of:

  • Respect – how an individual engages with another person with due regard for their feelings, wishes, or rights
  • Rapport – how an individual talks ‘with’ (and not ‘to’) other people to build a harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings and/or ideas
  • Positive engagement  how an individual uses positive and open language to develop understanding – using word and phrases like Yes And…, as opposed to No But…
  • Less assumptions – how an individual can make less assumptions by not assuming anything, in other words, asking open questions to elicit good conversation

Credibility being the amount of:

Confidence – self-confidence is not just about being strong in what we know and believe, (N.B. if too strong this could be perceived as arrogance!) it is about having a level of inner-knowledge and deep calm with a good measure of humility

  • Integrity – is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, which are used to guide ones self and our actions
  • Honesty –  is both the quality of  telling the truth no matter what, as well as behaving in an honest and upright way
  • Reliability – the degree to which our actions are the result of consistent self-management 
  • Capability – being at the extent of all of our capabilities not just our skills or knowledge

Minimising The Risk – The final aspect is about reducing the risks involved and I tend to use this model as an explanation to all of the above:

                                    Trust =  Empathy + Credibility 


In other words…. Trust is the amount of Empathy + Credibility over the level of risk involved.  The higher the perceived risk to the individual the more Empathy and Credibility needs to be in place!

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