Three Reasons People Don’t Trust You More

Trust: reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, or surety of a person or thing; confident expectation of something.

With few exceptions, no one can succeed in much of anything without TRUST. An employer isn’t likely to hire you if you are untrustworthy. A customer won’t buy from someone she doesn’t trust. A coworker will doubt your motives if he cannot trust you.

In his landmark bestseller, The Speed of Trust, author Stephen M.R. Covey calls trust, “the one thing that changes everything,” as he makes a compelling case for the high costs of not being trusted, and the high dividends earned when trust abounds.

Three Things that Cause Distrust

While there are a number of things that have the potential to cause distrust, these three seem quite prevalent today, and have been responsible for much of what makes us a low trust society:

1. A failure to DWYSYWD – DWYSYWD is Doing What You Said You Would Do. We tell someone that we will call them right back…then several days go by and they have to call us again. We say that we’ll meet at such-and-such a time…and then someone is late. We promise to complete an assignment by a certain date…and we don’t. Nothing kills trust quite as quickly as a lack of integrity in doing what you said you would do. The Solution: In the immortal words of Nike – Just do it! Recognize that in order to be trusted in the more important things in life, you must have a sterling track record in doing what you said you would do in the smaller things. Thus if you know you cannot positively do what you said you’d do, then don’t commit to it. Use a calendar to set the due date at least one day earlier than you committed, and see if you can improve on that. Email a note to yourself to remind you of a commitment you make. Keep and follow a daily do list. In short, make it a priority to always DWYSYWD.

2. A failure to listen – People can tell if you are actually listening, or just faking it. For most people in most cultures, listening equals respect. Why would anyone trust someone who shows them zero respect? The day you are too busy to listen – really listen – is the day you make a most compelling argument for not being trusted. You cannot be listening if you are “multitasking,” because listening involves the whole brain with an undivided attention. The Solution: People extend trust to those who truly listen and seek to understand them. People are always a priority over email and other tasks that compete for attention. Turn off the ringer and put down your smartphone and focus on the person. Listen for the message behind the message. Focus on what his or her body language is telling you. Ask questions and engage. Arrange your schedule so that you are available to listen when others need you.

3. Gossip – Gossip is idle talk or rumors, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. It means talking about other people in a way that you would not if they were part of the conversation. Gossip chases trust away because if you are telling me this about someone else, what are you telling them about me? And since most of gossip is speculative, missing facts, and assigning motives, it can be incredibly harmful to others. Trustworthy people don’t betray confidences. The Solution: Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say about someone if they were part of the conversation. Keep confidences like your life depended on it. Remember what your mom taught you, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” When someone begins to gossip to you, stop them and tell them you aren’t going to participate in gossip or rumors. Speak to the person directly and respectfully (behind closed doors if appropriate) rather than say something behind his or her back.

DWYSYWD, listening, and eliminating gossip are three powerful ways to build or re-establish trust with others. When you do, watch how your career moves in a much more positive direction.

Boyer Management Group works with universities, employers and job seekers alike to help them become more successful. For employers, we offer world-class assessments, talent acquisition and onboarding tools and programs. For employers and individuals, we offer the world’s finest assessments to measure an individual’s knowledge and awareness of current and emerging best practices in conducting an effective career search, selling, delivering customer service, leadership, and behavioral fit. To find out more, please visit us at, email us at, or call us at 215-942-0982.


Latest Leadership Posts


Seven Ways to Convince a Committee Continue Reading


You Got a Job Offer! Now What? Continue Reading


Counterintuitive Life-Changing Principles, Part 5 Continue Reading