Building Higher Trust 4 The Bilateral Nature of Trust

Trust between any two people goes in both directions. Rarely is the trust level exactly the same from one person to the other and vice versa.

Trust is also a highly dynamic condition. An activity or message may increase trust from A to B while simultaneously decreasing trust from B to A.

When two people are in a relationship, let’s say a marriage, the level of trust should be close in both directions. If one person has significantly lower trust in the other person for an extended period of time, the relationship is in real trouble.

Later in this series we will deal with the various ways trust is impacted and suggest ways to build higher trust consistently or repair damaged trust.

Lesson learned from a child

My daughter taught me a valuable lesson about trust when she was just four years old.

When I would come home from a trip across the country or to another continent, she would demand that I twirl her around and around. She kept me doing it until I would become so dizzy I could hardly stand.

I recall one time my wife walked into the kitchen and saw my condition. She asked, “How many martinis did you have on the plane?”

It was all very comical, but years later I realized that her trusting me to not drop her made it essential for me to not let her down.

If trust in one direction begets more trust in the reverse direction, we have a clue as to how we can build higher trust others have in us. Simply find some way to show more trust in them.

This is a simple philosophy of building higher trust that I call “The First Law of Trust.” Try it and you will see it really does work in most circumstances.

Bonus Video

Here is a short videoon the topic of Bilateral Trust



Bob Whipple, MBA, CPLP, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of four books: 1.The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals (2003), 2. Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online (2006), 3. Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind (2009), and 4. Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change (2014).

In addition, he has authored over 1000 articles and videos on various topics in leadership and trust. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.


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