Restoring Trust:  The Power of Admitting When You’re Wrong

Sooner or later, trust gets tested. When it does, what happens next?

Today we start this blog with the leading ways to damage trust in our relationships — personal, professional, commercial, or otherwise. Broken trust is difficult to talk about and even harder to recover from. It often feels easier to abandon relationships rather than invest in rebuilding them. This is #cancelculture at its finest—and its worst.

Why do we go to such lengths to avoid rebuilding trust? 

Because it requires a leap into the unknown. Because we don’t want to get hurt (again). Because it’s hard.

Our mind can talk us out of nearly anything—even a relationship that is largely beneficial!—because it is hard-wired to protect us. Unfortunately, our modern society is not what our minds have evolved toward. There is no saber-toothed tiger in the conference room or on the other end of the phone—just a relationship that needs to be repaired. 

Even if we desire to rebuild trust, most of us don’t possess  the skills to do so. Yet. 

This is exactly why you should keep reading.

When You’re Wrong, Admit it.

Achieving success as a trustworthy leader doesn’t mean you never fail or disappoint others. To learn and grow we must possess the capacity to recognize when we are wrong and admit it. A stubborn refusal to accept responsibility for mistakes puts us in disharmony with this necessary growth—and leaves us feeling frustrated. 

“This disharmony creates suffering for us and those around us,” says Dr. Mike Brooks, a psychologist specializing in helping people find greater balance in an increasingly hyperconnected world. “There is great, untapped power in the flexibility inherent within the admission: “I am wrong.’”

According to a recent study, 46% of Americans are waiting for an apology from someone in their life. Could it be you?

Once You Admit, Recommit.

We hear it everywhere and all the time: nobody is perfect. And while it may be comforting that we all make mistakes, it’s always unsettling when it happens—especially when it negatively impacts our relationships.

There is good news here. Studies have shown that humans have a natural tendency to move toward growth. Once fault has been admitted, the most powerful way to rebuild trust is by making—and keeping—a new commitment. Depending on the situation, it may mean starting small and sticking with it. Show up on time. Follow-up and follow through on a task. 

There are several factors that play into this “second chance” mentality. Connection, one of our 8 Pillars of Trust, plays an overwhelming role in creating these environments and supporting the work of repairing trust. And, by definition, it goes both ways!

Re-connection Is Just as Critical as Connection

Leaders can create environments of connection—and the trust it builds—in three ways:

  • See people as humans. Not just people like you or people at work, but people who are in a constant state of growth and transformation. 
  • Assume positive intent. Giving the benefit of the doubt goes a long way in building and rebuilding relationships. 
  • Show you are listening. Four words that instantly increase connection in every conversation: Put. Your. Phones. Away. When you are present, you are presented with stronger bonds, greater grace, and more opportunities to see that the good in others almost always outweighs bad choices, mistakes, and disappointments. 

Building stronger connections is a compounding activity; the more interaction you have, the deeper and greater the connection. 

Creating a Culture of Resilient Trust

There is a correlation between work satisfaction and willingness to be vulnerable. The safer we feel in our environments, performance, and relationships, the more willing we are to take risks—including those necessary to build and rebuild trust.

At the end of the day, we all want to build resilient relationships that can handle the plot twists of our human stories. Growth, flexibility, connection, and harmony are born from trust work—and it generously goes both ways. If you’re looking for a great resource to help you rebuild trust, Chapter 13 of “The Trust Edge: How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line” has you covered.

As you move on with your day, it is highly likely you have highly regarded, beneficial relationships where you are avoiding the work of rebuilding trust. If you don’t take the first step to reconnect and rebuild, who will? 

Our Trust Edge Certification Program gives you the tools, training, and a thriving community to build satisfying cultures of connection. Are you interested? Schedule a 15-minute discovery call today to take your place in our Trust Edge Certified Partner Directory.

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