I have always admired Stephen Covey’s writings. In his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” Mr. Covey talks about being Trustworthy. As project managers if we are not trustworthy, we are not going to be effective. When you are trustworthy, you can be counted on to keep your word. Trustworthiness is a qualitative measure so we cannot apply some objective measure to how honest or reliable a person is.
As mentioned in Paul Friedman’s Book “How to Deal with Difficult People”, Paul states “Faith in people is fragile”. “Every single breach of trust diminishes people’s confidence in you”. Paul goes on to say, “Most people believe themselves to be more trustworthy than others think they are. We forgive ourselves more readily for minor transgressions that linger in other people’s minds. We know why we neglected to do something. We know we had a good reason and intended no harm. However, others cannot read our minds or know what our lives are like”.
Take your promises seriously. When you are unable to keep your commitments, be quick to admit fault, explain, apologize and do whatever is necessary to repair the damage and reassure others that you will redouble your efforts so you do not repeat the same mistakes. Trust is earned, but it is earned only after you demonstrate that you are Trustworthy.