One day last January, I watched as eight inches of snow piled up one morning. My neighbor, Gene proceeds to go out and shovel his driveway. It must’ve taken him an hour of back-breaking work. Then surprisingly, I watch him as he walks to my yard and shovel MY driveway – it took him over an ...One day last January, I watched as eight inches of snow piled up one morning. My neighbor, Gene proceeds to go out and shovel his driveway. It must’ve taken him an hour of back-breaking work. Then surprisingly, I watch him as he walks to my yard and shovel MY driveway – it took him over an hour!

Now, if Gene ever needs a “favor” from me, he has it – yes? Although he didn’t do it for this reason, by selflessly giving to others, you sort of create an invisible ‘bank account’ – if you never give of yourself or your time or money, don’t expect much of the same in return.

Tip# 1: Build a reputation for benevolence, or doing something kind, helpful or useful for someone else.
Practice doing something for someone else everyday for no apparent (ulterior motive) reason, and watch your trust build – it could be as simple as a handwritten thank you note. Ever see the movie, “Pay It Forward?” If not, go rent it and watch it for a good example of this tip and principle.

You can feel a sense of benevolence in many ways, some of which include:
o They consistently put your interests ahead of their own.
o They ensure that in any conflict, you’ll feel as if you came out better than they did, even if they had to lose something in order to reach a consensus.
o They under-promise and over-deliver – consistently, and never the other way around.
o They have a “servant attitude” – it is clear that they are there to serve others, and if you needed someone at a crucial time, you could count on them. They consistently give of themselves and their talents.

The research on the topic of trust is clear -- it is a by-product of three primary attributes or characteristics of behavior:
o “I believe that you’ll do what you say you’ll do.”
o Competence
o A sense of benevolence

Tip# 2: Become more competent every day.
Think about this: You’re either ‘green and growing’ as a person, or ‘ripe and rotting.’ Embrace lifelong learning. Realize that besides your faith, the biggest contributor to an increased sense of HOPE is continuing education, seminars, books, etc. Congratulations! - the fact that you’re reading this says that you occasionally practice the principle, yet allocate more time and money to your development. Competence breeds trust! Where to go: I always recommend Another superb resource is

Tip# 3: Remember that a Decision sets you free!
I learned from my friend, Matt Bacak ( that the word, decision comes from the Latin root word meaning, “to cut.” In other words, a decision “frees you” to either carry out the decision and move forward, or leave it behind and move forward.

What’s this have to do with trust? Mike Litman ( says that more is lost in indecision, than in making the wrong decision. You have to trust yourself, once you’ve done the research, to make a decision. Like Nike says, “Just Do It.”

Procrastination kills countless great ideas. The achievers of this world treat ‘mistakes’ NOT as failures, but as learning lessons. Like Mike Litman also says, “Don’t get it perfectly right, just get it going!” Be willing to trust your gut, guys - or your intuition, ladies more than you do today.

Tip# 4: Walk your talk.
Remember when you mother or father would say something that you shouldn’t do, and then do it themselves? A lack of congruence – a match between what you say and DO – is critically important to building and maintaining trust. Consistency breeds trust. Be very slow and careful about what you promise. Under-promise and you’ll over-deliver and build trust. “I’d rather SEE a sermon than hear one any day.”

Tip# 5: Be transparent – be authentic and genuine, with no ‘masks.’
Like it or not, we all tend to wear a sort-of “mask” or façade, depending on the situation and people we find ourselves. In my experience, those people who are most transparent about their true intent tend to be trusted the most. They don’t play games; they don’t behave differently in one situation or another. They are also open to being vulnerable, sharing their emotions, deepest thoughts or important life wisdom.

Tip# 6: Have unquestionable integrity.
This is a HUGE problem in the world today. I have someone at least once a week tell me a story of how they can’t find honorable, trustworthy employees to hire. We live in a morally corrupt world. You may not agree with me, but in my and others' opinions, there is a war going on between good and evil. You want greater trust with people? Great, then if you violate a sense of ethics or morality, your boat is sunk. You have to be trusted at your word, period.

If you say, “fine, Charlie” I know and follow this one already, then consider this: I graduated from West Point, the US Military Academy and served in the US Army. West Point’s Honor Code reads, “I will not lie, cheat or steal NOR tolerate those who do.” So, let’s say you observe your work buddy lifting a few boxes of CD disks from the office supply room – do you turn your back, or question him (and/or report him?) It’s about doing the “harder right than the easier wrong.” If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for everything.

I truly believe that God’s laws – the 10 Commandments if you’re Christian, the Quran if you’re Muslim – are like “honey to the lips!” Why? The next time you’re driving down a 2-lane highway, realize that you’re passing the approaching vehicle with no more than 7-8 feet between you. If no one followed the simple traffic laws, you’d be an auto fatality long ago. Folks, if you think you’re somehow special or unique – SEPARATE – from everyone else, then you won’t choose to follow simple rules handed down thousands of years ago, and won’t be trusted. For more on this topic, go to

Tip# 7: Create light by over-communicating.
True trust-building leaders communicate often and well so that people feel “in on things.” Don’t you like to feel like you’re “IN on things,” and rarely feel as if you’ve been left in the dark? Think of leaders that you’ve enjoyed working with in the past – didn’t they ‘over-communicate,’ constantly worked to make sure you felt in the loop, had seldom surprises because they saw communication as light in a dark room.

When you ask a child to do something, often they ask the simple question, “Why?” Adults are no different (we’re all just grown-up kids) and they want to understand the reasons ‘why’ it should be done, or why in that manner. Don’t forget this simple rule: in email for example, your INTENT can be misunderstood. So, state your intent at the beginning or the end of the email (or verbal message) so that intent is never misunderstood.

Tip# 8: Be emotionally intelligent.
1. Take full responsibility for who you are, where you at right now in life, and no excuses or rationalization. Do you take full responsibility for everything that happens to you? And then remember what Charles Swindoll said, “10% of success in life is what happens to you; 90% is what you DO with what happens to you.”
2. Admitting when they don’t know something or better, surrounding themselves with very competent people in the areas that the leader is marginal or not an expert
3. Trusts others by delegating and empowering other people while not abdicating their own ultimate responsibility. They gently inspect what they expect.
4. Emotionally mature: when they make a mistake, they admit it quickly and sincerely.

Tip# 9: “Can I be honest with you?” is a great compliment to hear...
I have people constantly ask me, “Charlie can I be honest with you?” I sometimes say, “Well, of course … but what you have been until this point in time – dishonest?” What they are saying is one of several things:
o If I share this with you, will you keep in confidential?
o If I share this with you, will you also give me YOUR HONEST opinion (be careful)?
o This goes “against the grain” of what others are commonly thinking or saying, so here’s how I really stand on this issue or question…

The point hear is that people want to be honest with one another, but constantly are concerned about office politics, being politically correct and other generally unjustifiable concerns. If you’re the type of person who commonly has people say to you, “Can I be honest with you?” it’s a good sign that you’re on the right path to being more trustworthy.

Tip# 10: When all else fails, remember that a thought of FEAR and a thought of FAITH or Courage cannot exist in the mind at the same time.

Probably the best, recent example of a benevolent company leader is the true story of a Massachusetts company whose manufacturing building burned to the ground, and whose owner continued payrolls until the plant was re-constructed. Loyalty breeds trust.

Several years ago, I was talking with a friend of mine about a problem that was causing me some anxiety and stress about the future. He listened intently and then said, “Remember that faith and fear cannot exist in the mind at the same time.” In other words, when you’re mind is filled with thoughts of faith, confidence, hope, charity and positive expectancy, fear has little ground in which to take root -- and that helps you maintain trust – about people, organizations and the future.

Author's Bio: 

Charlie Breeding is President of Performance Improvement Institute, an Internet Information provider, publisher and professional speaking, coaching, consulting and training firm. Mr. Breeding is a graduate of the US Military Academy, West Point and has worked in the Performance Improvement area for over 23 years – fifteen years with Dale Carnegie Training, and two years with FranklinCovey. His clients include colleges/ universities, non-for-profits, small, medium-sized and large organizations such as AT&T, Chrysler, and Lucent Technologies. For organizations, more information can be obtained at and for individuals, go to PEP = Productivity, Execution & Performance. His second book, Breeding Trust will be published in late 2007.