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Vectors of trust

Trust is one of the foundations of team performance and harmony, but it isn’t often unpacked in detail.

Values, personality and personal history, culture, learned skills and community all play a role.

The best answer to the question “How can I make people trust me?” remains, of course, “Be trustworthy.”

Can I trust you?

Trust can be broken down into subcomponents, each with their own direction and magnitude:

  • Benevolence: Do I believe you’re well intentioned? Are you kind to people?
  • Alignment: Are your purposes sympathetic or antagonistic to mine?
  • Personal and team loyalty and “continence”: Will you betray me, steal from me, if you are tempted or it benefits you?
  • Reliability-as-promise-keeping: Do you consistently do what you say you will do?
  • Reliability-as-accurate-narration: Did you do the things you say you did? Did things happen the way you described?
  • Moral judgement: Do you know the right thing to do in most situations?
  • Moral fortitude and courage: Do you do the right things in the face of resistance? How easily do you compromise on key values?
  • Professional judgement: Do you have the task-relevant maturity to know what needs to be done?
  • Administrative ability: Can you keep track of the things that need to be done?
  • Technical competence: Do you have the hard skills to execute on agreed tasks towards our shared goals?
  • Social competence: Can you get things done without upsetting or alienating key people? Can you win people over?
  • Predictability and consistency: Do you act broadly in the way I have come to expect that you’ll behave?
  • Communication: Can we communicate clearly about what matters? Do we understand each other?
  • Taste: Do I generally agree with the way you go about doing things? With how you talk to people / the way you write / the flavour of your content and design work? When you do something surprising, do I like the surprise?
  • Attack surface: are there personal, social, structural or cultural factors that might pressurise you into breaking trust?
  • Reverse trust – Do you trust me?
  • Rapport: Do we “click”? Do we enjoy working together and spending time in each other’s company?
  • History: Over how many years and in how many circumstances have you demonstrated your trustworthiness?


What’s missing?

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