Someone once said, “Trust is like oxygen – you only notice it when it’s not there.” It’s almost like an invisible foundation, where without it, everything falls apart.

The problem with trust is it’s often hard to understand. It’s like it’s there or it’s not. But, what if it’s actually not all that ambiguous? What if there is more of a science to trust than we know to explore?

If we spend so much time learning about our Strengths and how to have Tough Conversations, where does Trust come into play if it’s so important?

Let’s start with Strengths.

At Trybal, we’re huge fans of StrengthsFinder. If you’ve worked with us, we’ve likely taken you and the folks at your organization through a StrengthsFinder workshop and some one-on-one coaching.

What tends to be pretty fun for people is when we reveal the concept of Dark Side Labels with our infamous Darth Vader slide on our PowerPoint deck. We teach people that everyone has Dark Sides and that we can talk about them with levity. Rather than attacking who someone is in their identity, we explain that the flip-side of the coin of what’s truly extraordinary about you is where you find your Dark Sides.

Now, when it comes to trust, someone’s common Dark Sides or simple lack of Strength in a certain area may negatively impact any of the four cores of trust, as defined by Stephen M. R. Covey in his best-selling book, The Speed of Trust. The four cores are:

  1. Integrity
  2. Intent
  3. Capabilities, and
  4. Results

If your Adaptability Strength has you go with the flow a little too much, and you do not always do what you say you’re going to do, your integrity might be suffering in the eyes of others.

If your Significance Strength has you show off a little more often than your peers would appreciate, they may question your intent.

If you’re expected to be capable in one of the four leadership domains that you don’t have any Strengths, you might feel like you’re incapable and perhaps others do too.

If your Responsibility Strength has had you overpromise and under-deliver one too many times, your boss may doubt your ability to get results consistently.

The reality is, most situations that seem to affect our trust can be traced back to one of the four cores, and if we notice we’re consistently damaging one of the four cores, we can then explore which of the Dark Sides or gaps in Strength is causing the issue. For the most part, gaps in Strength will only ever affect the capabilities core, whereas Dark Sides can affect all cores.

So what about you? Who is the last person you had trust issues with? Which of the four cores did they compromise? If you know their Top 5 Strengths, can you trace a Dark Side Label or a lack of Strength back to the core that has been compromised? If yes, to rebuild trust, it’s time to talk about it!

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