Rebuilding Trust: Mind your A,B,C’s—and D’s

Everyone agrees on the importance of trust as a building block to creating strong relationships at work. But what is trust composed of? Trust experts Randy Conley and Dr. Pat Zigarmi point to four key areas (represented by the letters A, B, C, and D) that leaders have to be aware of when they are looking at building or restoring trust with the people they lead.

  1. Able is about demonstrating competence. Do the leaders know how to get the job done? Are they able to produce results? Do they have the skills to make things happen—including knowing the organization and equipping people with the resources and information they need to get their job done?
  2. Believable means acting with integrity. Leaders have to be honest in their dealings with people. In practical terms, this means creating and following fair processes. People need to feel that they are being treated equitably. It doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone has to be treated the same way in all circumstances, but it does mean that people are being treated appropriately and justly based on their own unique circumstances. Believability is also about acting in a consistent, values-driven manner that reassures employees that they can rely on their leaders.
  3. Connected is about demonstrating care and concern for other people. It means focusing on people and identifying their needs. It is supported by good communication skills. Leaders need to openly share information about the organization and about themselves. This allows the leader to be seen as more of a real person that a follower can identify with. When people share a little bit of information about themselves, it creates a sense of connection.
  4. Dependable is about reliably following through on what the leaders say that they are going to do. It means being accountable for their actions and being responsive to the needs of others so if leaders promise something they must follow through. It also requires being organized and predictable so that people can see that the leaders have things in order and are able to follow through on their promises.

How’s the trust level in your organization? If it is less than you want it to be, use the Able, Believable, Connected and Dependable (ABCD) model to help leaders rebuild trust in any areas where it has been neglected or broken.

4 thoughts on “Rebuilding Trust: Mind your A,B,C’s—and D’s

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  2. These are excellent, and come to me with great timing. I find that people will respond when they sense that they matter, that they are connected, and that their contribution counts. If we don’t tell them, how will they know?

    • Good points Steve. That’s the beauty of the ABCD TrustWorks Model. It breaks down the “mysterious” concept of Trust into four easy to understand components. It’s much easier to have discussions about issues of Trust when we have a common understanding of what Trust looks like in a relationship.

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