In the book The Collaboration Effect trust is presented as part of the foundation for both collaboration and conflict resolution. Here the focus is on trust and being trustworthy. What can you do to enhance trust and promote trustworthiness with others to promote collaboration and conflict resolution to address disputes?


Background on The Collaboration Effect


The Collaboration Effect enhances relationships, resources, and revenue by connecting relationships, listening actively, and educating judiciously in order to build bridges and negotiate closure. With enhanced, engaging relationships with others it is possible to gain further understanding. When you are aligned and on the same page moving in the same direction you can avoid frustration, rework, miscommunication, and dysfunction. This saves resources. Studies from the Harvard Business Review have clearly demonstrated that when you have trust production can increase 50%, stress can be reduced 74%, engagement can be increased 76%, burnout is reduced 40%, and employees use 13% less sick days. Numbers do not lie. So, what is trust and trustworthiness?


What is trust and trustworthiness?


As presented in The Collaboration Effect in its simplest form trust is a firm belief, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Relationships are built on trust. By comparison trustworthiness is the ability to be relied on as being honest or truthful. What do your people say about you? Do they trust you? Do you think they see you as being trustworthy? What about your perspective of them, your clients, your vendors, your boss, your support, your other stakeholders, your family, your friends, and others? Clearly, trust and trustworthiness are critical. So, what are constructive ways to build and maintain trust?


Constructive actions to build trust


In the book, The Collaboration Effect keys to building and maintaining trust are to be authentic and straightforward. Your word and actions speak for themselves. That is be who you really are. Your attitude matters. You have to have an attitude to want to be worthy of the trust of others. You need to be there to help. As a simple acronym consider SOAR for being straightforward, open, accepting, and responsible for building trust.


As just indicated four elements for building trust from The Collaboration Effect are to be straightforward, open, accepting, and responsible.

Straightforward means to operate with honesty and integrity. Would others say this is what you stand for? When you are honest you can be relied on to do the right thing even when others are not watching. You do not lie, cheat, or steal. You tell the truth. Integrity implies that you have strong moral principles. You will not compromise your integrity for personal benefit, at the expense of others. You do the right thing. You do what it takes. You take the high road relative to others that may not play fair.

Being open means to be transparent with others. You share with others what you can legally, morally, and ethically. You provide others with what they need when they need it. By taking the time to develop good relationships you are able to solicit timely, quality information from others, because they trust you and they want to help you and the rest of your team. You do not over inform either. You are conscious of others time and abilities, so you temper what you share to only provide what is truly needed and helpful.

Accepting others means from where they are coming from. You need to check your assumptions. You need to suspend judgment and to keep an open mind. There is no focus on blame. The focus is on the future and what we can do together to make improvements going forward. When you encounter others with a negative attitude and blaming others, you work to temper the commentary and focus on the real problems instead.

Being responsible means that you under promise and over deliver. That is be on time. Be a person of your word. If a plumber tells you, they can complete the job in a day, and it takes a half day you are happy. If it takes a day, you are OK. If it takes two days, you are not happy. Keep this in mind for others too with what you do. If you discover additional information that will prevent you from being on time, you inform the other party timely and explain what you can do when you can do it.

I want to introduce you to another source on trust.

Pillars of trust

In his book, The Trusted Leader, David Horsager, introduces you to a story to set the stage and then to his eight pillars of trust. For me I break them down similarly, but I have six pillars of his eight in my own summary, and then I break them down further into what I can easily recall and explain to myself. To me these are what I see as the critical three. I tend to remember three things pretty well, but I do not do so well with remembering eight things. What follows is my breakdown to help you from The Trusted Leader eight of Clarity, Compassion, Character, Competency, Commitment, Connection, Contribution, and Consistency to these three.

  1. Clarity: I found as a new manager I often was not as clear as I thought I was, or it was not received well when I sometimes thought I was clear. This caused me to have pause and consider additional dialogue to make sure we had a clear understanding before carrying out any tasks.
  2. Compassion: Compassion does not come naturally. It has to be learned. Compassion means to be calm, confident, and competent. You want a doctor or nurse to have compassion when treating you. You want to lead with compassion.
  3. Character: To do the right thing and do what it takes with a strong moral compass is key to character. If you have good character, you will demonstrate commitment, connection with others, and contribution to broader community. This is often demonstrated with volunteering.

So, for brevity I see three key pillars to hold up the three-legged stool of trust. These are clarity, compassion, and character. You decide what works best for you.




Trust is a foundation of The Collaboration Effect. Trust and trustworthiness have been defined. SOAR like an Eagle and land on your feet with trust by being Straightforward, Open, Accepting, and Responsible. Consider the eight pillars of trust as offered by David Horsager in his book, The Trusted Leader, or a prioritized, concise commentary of Clarity, Compassion, and Character as you enhance trust with your relationships going forward.

About the author

Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]