Thursday, April 23, 2009 by Dave Blum

A few days ago, I mentioned a splendid little book by Hyler Bracey, Ph.D., called “Building Trust–How to Get It!  How to Keep It!”.  What I like about the book is that Bracey spells out the five elements of building trust in a *very* easy-to-understand, easy-to-remember model, with a nifty mnemonic.    Here’s what it looks like:


T–Be Transparent
R–Be Responsive
U–Use Caring
S–Be Sincere
T–Be Trustworthy

It sounds simple, right?  And yet, how many managers or team leaders do you know who actively practive these five qualities?

T–Be Transparent refers to your ability to make yourself “readable” and vulnerable.  In other words, when people talk about you, do they say, “Boy, with you, I always know it’s ‘what you see is what you get.'”?  Can people easily read your feelings, thoughts, emotions and intentions?

R–Be Responsive refers to your willingness to give and receive feedback honestly, consciously and with care. In other words, when people talk about you, do they say, “I can bring anything to you, even anger and frustration, and you’ll treat it with respect and honor.”?

U–Use Caring refers to your capacity to deal with people in such a way that they know you truly care about them and their welfare.  In other words, do people say, “You really make an effort to hear and understand me, to tell me the truth with compassion, to acknowledge my potential, and to look for my positive intentions.”?

S–Be Sincere refers to your skills at acting without deceit or pretense. In other words, do people say, “Your actions always match your words, and you really avoid lying and gossiping.”?

T–Be Trustworthy goes one step beyond Sincerity and refers to your acceptance of the consequences of your words and actions.  It’s about being true to your word.  In other words, do people say, “You only make agreements you intend to keep, you give early notice if a promise must be broken, and you clean up broken agreements.”?

Bracey breaks down each of the five categories above with numerous examples and case studies.  Definitely NOT an academic tome, the book is a bit light on stats, charts and footnotes–something I found kind of refreshing. I suspect his theories are mostly anecdotal. Still, they have the ring of truth, as applicable for corporate scavenger hunts and team building exercises as they are for the boardroom and the workplace.  Check it out.