Steven R Covey has shared 13 Principles of trust-building that will help you become a trustworthy and dependable leader. Businesses are reflections of their owners and the qualities you carry as an individual are reflected in the work you do. 

These principles include;

Qualities of Character

  1. Talk Straight Be honest. Tell the truth. Let people know where you stand.
    • Opposite: Lie. Deceive. “Spinning,” positioning, posturing and manipulating.
  2. Demonstrate Respect: Care for others and show it. Treat everyone with respect, especially those who can’t do anything for you.
    • Opposite: Show disrespect or not care about others. Faking respect, showing respect for some but not all.
  3. Create Transparency: Tell the truth, be real, genuine, open and authentic.
    • Opposite: Hide, cover-up, obscure things. Having hidden agendas, withholding information.
  4. Make right what is wrong: Admit when you’re wrong, apologize quickly, show humility, don’t let pride get in the way of doing the right thing.
    • Opposite: Deny, justify or rationalize wrongful behaviour.  Cover up, disguise, hide mistakes until forced to admit error.
  5. Show Loyalty: Give credit to others, speak about people as if they’re present and represent others who aren’t there.
    • Opposite: Take credit, betray others. Being gossipy and two-faced, appearing to give credit when they’re present but downplaying their contribution and taking credit when they’re not around.

Qualities of Competence

  1. Deliver Results: Establish a track record of getting the right things done. Make things happen, on-time and within budget. As Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
    1. Opposite: Overpromise and under-deliver. Delivering activities instead of results - doing busywork without accomplishing anything real.
  2. Get Better: Continuously improve. Increase your capabilities. Be a constant learner. Don’t consider yourself above feedback.
    • Opposite: Rest on your laurels, become irrelevant. Learning but never producing, force-fitting things into what you’re good at.
  3. Confront Reality: Tackle all issues head-on, even the “undiscussables.” Address the tough stuff directly. Confront the reality, not the person.
    • Opposite: Ignore reality, be in denial. Focus on side issues while skirting the real issues.
  4. Clarify Expectations: Disclose, reveal and validate expectations. Don’t assume they’re clear or shared. Renegotiate if needed/possible.
    • Opposite: Leave expectations unclear or undefined. Guessing. Fail to pin down specifics for meaningful accountability.
  5. Practice Accountability: Hold yourself accountable first, others second. Take responsibility. Be clear on how you’ll communicate how you’re doing and how others are doing. Don’t blame.
    1. Opposite: Not take responsibility. Point fingers and blame others, fail to enforce consequences when expectations aren’t met.

Character + Competence

  1. Listen First: Listen before speaking. Understand, diagnose, listen with ears, eyes and heart.
    • Opposite: Speak first and listen last or not listen at all. Listen just to formulate your response, pretend to listen.
  2. Keep Commitments: Say what you’ll do, then do it. Make commitments carefully and keep them at all costs. Don’t break confidences.
    • Opposite: Break commitments, violate promises. Make vague, elusive promises that can’t be pinned down.
  3. Extend Trust: Extend trust abundantly to those who’ve earned it, conditionally to those who are still earning it.
    1. Opposite: Withhold trust. Extend false trust - giving responsibility without authority, then micromanage, “snoopervise” and hover.