I teach and consult on the importance of the following eight values that build trust: honesty, straightforwardness, respect, receptivity, recognition, keeping commitments, seeking excellence and disclosure. When you fail to practice any of them, you make inter-relationship withdrawals. When you live them, you make positive, emotional and social deposits.

Here are the eight values, a description of each and advice to consider:

  1. Disclosure is the state of openness in which you freely reveal your needs, desires and vulnerabilities. I coach by allowing connection and sharing my feelings and limitations. As I disclose myself, this often helps others put their guard down. Advice: Risk showing people who you are in order to be in service to them.
  2. Receptivity is the ability to open to verbal and non-verbal feedback. This requires self-awareness and self-management and is more effective than trying to change, fix, heal or convert others, which they don’t generally appreciate. Advice: Do the counter-intuitive. Seek to understand first without trying to resolve.
  3. Recognition is the expression of verbal appreciation and compliments, including gratitude for contributions and assets. Advice: Look for the good in others and make it concrete by speaking it often and excessively.
  4. Straightforwardness is expressing directly and clearly our expectations and agreements. Asking people straight-up, “What I want is…” and “Are you willing?” This goes against most of your upbringing as likely you were often punished or criticized for doing this. Advice: Discover what you want and directly ask for it.
  5. Keeping Commitments is completing, attending to, or delivering things you’ve committed to do, provide or be. Intentions equal results means that you can determine your commitment based on whether you actually do what you say. Advice: Pay attention. Notice if you are really committed, then get real with yourself and others.
  6. Respect is making the needs and understanding of others as important as your own. A win/lose dynamic has gone on for many years and still continues today. Evidence is in our relationships between unions and management, genders, races, religions and between adults and children, to name a few examples. It’s one of the greatest reasons we have such problems in our schools, homes, neighborhoods, churches and workplaces. A lack of unconditional valuing in each person and between people is wholly destructive. Advice: Live by the golden rule. It’s a great equalizer.
  7. Seeking Excellence is an indicator of your self-management and commitment to excellence. Mediocrity is so common we are impressed when someone seeks excellence. That person is a leader, has presence, and is accepted as someone we can count on. Advice: purposely determine to excel in all things.
  8. Honesty is the ability to speak the truth without omission or distortion. Even if you’re a person who doesn’t misrepresent your income, or snatch something in a store, can you say you never lie about what you’re feeling, cheat yourself of knowing what you want, steal opportunities to address issues in order to avoid conflict? Most people don’t realize the depth of their inability to be honest. Einstein said, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” Advice: Don’t play others and don’t play you.

Trust is a precious commodity. Cultivate it mindfully, nurture it diligently and guard it vigilantly. It’s the foundation of everything

.As published in St. Louis Small Business Monthly, July 2013