More Than Being Liked, Be Trusted – Week 7

Take a look around you. In the age of social media and the constant presence of the “like button”, it can be easy for us to place too much emphasis on being liked by others – and not enough emphasis on being thought of highly, or trusted. We begin to seek out new and improved ways of being more likable by others. Maybe if we just acted a certain way, dressed a certain way, and drove a certain car, more people would like us? Then, before we know it, being liked becomes our ultimate goal, even if it begins to stomp-out other characteristics that we should have. As alluded to above, one of these sometimes overlooked characteristics is being trusted by others (which goes along with ethics in general). On this subject, Arthur Gensler writes in his article that “ethical behavior sends a message to employees, clients, and members of your community that you care about more than profit alone—and that you deserve their trust.”

If our goal is to be liked, we might brush off the importance of trust

It’s true. Imagine that you’re in a situation where you need to be brutally honest with someone. Perhaps as the role of manager in your business. If your goal is to simply be liked by people, you’re more inclined to not be as candid with your employee as you should be. But if you would rather be honest and trustworthy, the option of someone liking you is not a priority: truth is. You see, you can be likable and dishonest as long as nobody knows about your dishonesty. But once the truth comes out, you cannot be dishonest and likable (unless, of course, bribery comes into play).

So what does it have to do with business?

Everything, really. Trust is something that we carry from our personal lives into our professional lives (a division that I am not sure truly exists, but that is another article). As the famous Zig Ziglar once wrote:

“If people like you they’ll listen to you but if they trust you they’ll do business with you”

You wouldn’t do business with someone who you knew was actively trying to cheat you, would you? Or how about buying a product from a company, only to find out that there were several expensive strings attached that now render your investment useless unless you shell out extra cash? We’ve all been there, and it’s not a fun place to be – nor is it a place we would return to if we could avoid it. For that reason, we should seek to be honest and trustworthy in all of our business transactions and dealings. You’ll earn the trust of those around you which will result in a higher volume of repeat customers, and a lower turnover rate of employees. Of course, it is possible that your likability will suffer through this, but I actually doubt that it will. In fact, I would bet that your likability will improve alongside your trustworthiness.

Integrate trust and integrity into every part of business

It is well to be trustworthy yourself, but even better if the culture of the business you operate promotes it as well. It only takes a single untrustworthy employee to discredit a team of people, a business, or even an entire brand. Guard against this by making integrity the central pillar of every action that an employee takes. As Steven Shussler says in his book It’s a Jungle in There, “Truth is the gateway to trust. An honest, trustworthy entrepreneur is not always the easiest person to be, particularly in trying times, but is the kind of person, I believe, we should all strive to become.”


Sources:

Gensler, Arthur (2015). Trust is the most powerful currency in business. Fortune.com. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2015/07/28/trust-business-leadership/

Shussler, Steven (2010). It’s a Jungle in There. Newyork, NY: Sterling Publishing

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3 thoughts on “More Than Being Liked, Be Trusted – Week 7

  1. I’ve always kind of liked the saying “an enemy will agree with you, but a friend will argue with you.” It is easy to think someone doesn’t have your best interests at heart when they are picking apart your pet idea. But if they are offering constructive criticism, they’re doing a great favor. If given the choice between failing in an expensive and extremely public manner or seeing the flaws in my ideas at the outset, I like to think I would just choose to see the flaws and not learn the hard way.

    1. Hi Nick, thanks for the comment! I totally agree with you. Sometimes we might think our product is really awesome, and even a close friend will tell us the same thing. But the moment we run the idea by a stranger, we are awoken to a difficult truth that our idea might just not be as good as we once thought – and that is a good thing.

  2. We do business with people we trust. If we have heard any bad vibes about said company, we are more than likely not going to do business with them. We have to believe in you and your product/service. Trust equals money, the more trustworthy you are the more customers you will have. And, you mentioned earlier that it only takes that one bad employee to make the entire team look bad. It’s so true and it takes a long time to make that right again. I’m sure we have all had experiences with this with certain businesses, and most of the time you don’t go back and you don’t refer your friends and family. Word of mouth marketing is so important, even in today’s crazy digital world.

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