How much do people trust you as a leader?

  • 3 min read

Take the test - https://trustsuite.trustedadvisor.com/ - 20 questions, very thought provoking, the results might hurt your brain.

I attended a virtual training program on "Building trust" for leaders where we were asked to take an online test that calculated one's Trust Quotient (TQ). This session was on a Friday evening and I heard a collective moan from my cohort as everyone was looking forward to the weekend and did not want to sit through a diagnostics test and answer twenty questions. I'm being dramatic, there was no audible sigh of disagreement given that we were on mute but there was a spike in WhatsApp group chat activity. Nevertheless, we obliged and I had a lot of fun doing it and got a rather high score but what did it mean and what can we learn from it?

I know that self-reported data is notoriously unreliable. One cannot expect someone to answer a hard question like "how do others feel about your work reliability?" with accuracy. Anyone who designs surveys will tell you that people have a very high opinion of themselves and will respond to questions accordingly.

It's best to think of the TQ Questionnaire as a self-diagnostics test that prompts you to open your mind and ponder over the four variables that form the quotient. TQ, IQ, EQ - that's a lot.

The Trust Quotient allows you to put a value on trustworthiness—but even more importantly, to understand the variables that impact trustworthiness

CREDIBILITY has to do with the words we speak. In a sentence, we might say, “I can trust what she says about intellectual property; she’s very credible on the subject.” 

RELIABILITY has to do with actions. We might say, “If he says he’ll deliver the product tomorrow, I trust him, because he’s dependable.” 

INTIMACY refers to the safety or security that we feel when entrusting someone with something. We might say, “I can trust her with that information; she’s never violated my confidentiality before, and she would never embarrass me.” 

SELF-ORIENTATION refers to a person’s focus. In particular, whether the person’s focus is primarily on him or herself, or on the other person. We might say, “I can’t trust him on this deal — I don’t think he cares enough about me, he’s focused on what he gets out of it.” Or more commonly, “I don’t trust him — I think he’s too concerned about how he’s appearing, so he’s not really paying attention.”

Here are some takeaways

  • Leaders need to be trustworthy and credible. When they are, they can really inspire their team.
  • Always be cognizant of other's feelings.
  • You cant push intimacy but you can make it welcome. Intimacy and Trust go hand in hand.
  • Always control your initial emotional reaction as a leader, take a step back, think before you act.
  • Demonstrate your expertise, don't just talk about it
  • Say what you'll do and do what you'll say
  • It's hard as a leader to have a low self-orientation and always put the customer and others first - less manipulation, more cooperation
  • Be an active listener

After everyone had done the test, the speaker asked us for some feedback and I noticed that most folks in the cohort received scores between 4-8 with the highest score (reported) of 10 point something. My heart sank when I observed how seriously people took their scores and I stopped talking about it in the session as it had clearly upset a few. I took some time a few days later to study my results (free) and dug a little deeper into the science behind this test (more on this in another post).

I retook the test a week later and received the same score.

Do I think I am trust-worthy? Yes.

Can I validate this via a test? No.

Can I learn from a test like this to improve as a colleague/leader? YES.

I hope this helped you in some way. What do you think? Did you like the questions? Do you agree with the score?

Further reading -

  1. https://trustedadvisor.com/why-trust-matters/understanding-trust/understanding-the-trust-equation
  2. https://hbr.org/2014/06/proven-ways-to-earn-your-employees-trust
  3. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/future-work-empathy-led-paul-datta/
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2020/05/21/employee-trust-is-essential-right-now-heres-how-to-start-earning-it/#126fa28a131e
  5. https://talentculture.com/cultivating-employee-trust-in-the-2020-workplace/
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Technologist | Heads Digital Workplace APAC | Learner
Hello! I love playing the guitar, photography, gaming, food, talking to people.
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