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The Trust Factor

I have a friend who has been having trouble with her boss. “We’re not connecting. I’m not sure why, but things seems to be deteriorating quickly between us.”

I asked, “Do you trust her?” My friend said, “I used to, but not any more.”

It’s a sad but true fact of life — trust is everything. Do you trust those in your own office who you sit next to or nearby 5 days a week?

Let’s reverse it. Donors give you money because they trust you. Volunteers give of their time for the same reason. Development directors and executive directors succeed succeed because they have learned to trust each other. However, trust is a slippery thing, isn’t it?

I’d like to suggest 3 ways you can create more trusting relationships both at work and in your “real” life:

  1. Be trustworthy. One of the ways trust is lost in a relationship is when you say something like, “Let’s get together,” and then never act on it. If your message promises that you’ll return a call as soon as you can, do it!

  2. Be forgiving of yourself and others. As I said, it’s sad when a trust has been broken because it’s often very difficult to repair it. However, isn’t the real tragedy that so little effort is then put into trying to repair broken trust? How many of us simply decide to arch our backs in indignation and say “forget it .” As Mike Ditka is fond of saying, “In life” stuff happens. We have the right intentions but something gets in the way of us returning that phone call, for example, and then one day leads to one week to… It’s one of the true losses of the age in which we live that we try to bury broken relationships under the guise of meetings, obligations, and deadlines. Think about this: the more you forgive, the more someone will learn to trust you. I’ve found that to be true in my own life, for sure. Decide that whatever the offense was, it was unintended. In short, forgive and ask for forgiveness.

  3. Start fresh. Re-starting existing relationships is difficult; it’s also very worthwhile. It’s certainly easier when you’re in a new position and can begin again. Of course, all of this is based on the premise that you want to re-grow and re-gain the trust that once existed between you and whomever. As difficult as the words might be to say, try this: “”I’m sorry things have gotten to the point that they have between us. What happened? Tell me about it, please.” And then listen. If the other person’s response suggests that there is the possibility for a reconciliation, do all that you can to improve things. You may not be able to fix every relationship that has been broken because of a trust issue, but I’m willing to bet that you’ll be able to put a bandage on or even heal some.

Have you broken trust with a donor? Were you able to repair it? Please let us know how right here.

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