HOW TRUST IS DESTROYED BETWEEN PEOPLE
Lack of Congruence
Simply put, when people say one thing and do something else we tend not to trust them. There are other ways that people can be incongruous:
they smile with their mouth and not with their eyes
their body language does not match their words
their words don't match their tone of voice
they do not live out what they believe in.
Incongruence is not always the result of the person deliberately trying to mislead. It could be that someone has a desire to please or to be liked, wants to fit in or is looking for recognition. The result, however, is often to create a dynamic that makes trust difficult to achieve in that relationship.
We usually realise that people have a hidden agenda when their behaviour is incongruous in some way. A hidden agenda is where someone appears to be doing or saying something for one reason but is actually acting from another, self-serving motive. Hidden agendas are the things that office politics are made from.
Working in an environment where people are suspicious or unsure of others' agendas results in the withholding of information, spreading of inaccurate information and generally self-protective behaviour.
A management consultant recounted the following story to us.
I once prepared a two-day senior management workshop for a very large international consultancy. I worked with the practice partner who told me what was needed, vetted the output, checked with other partners and confirmed the first event. There were to be nine such events in quick succession in the UK with the potential for more in the USA and worldwide.
During the event I noticed two participants were particularly interested, taking lots of notes and so on. 'Wonderful,' I thought, 'they are really taking this to heart.' I got full participation from all the delegates and tremendously positive feedback from all involved. Only afterwards did I realise that the two 'interested' delegates were in fact preparing to run the workshop themselves. The organisation dropped me and ran the workshops themselves in their other locations. They could have obtained most of the material I had used as it was in the public domain. It was the way I had put it together that interested them. They didn't have the decency to let me know what was happening. Although I had made it clear to my contact that I was happy to 'transfer the technology' through him, they obviously didn't want to take that on trust, and didn't want to pay me for more than the first workshop to do it. I learned a lot. Maybe I was starstruck by the corporate name, maybe the prospect of a big deal, maybe I took them too much at face-value. But at the end of the day I don't think I could have protected myself from this predatory behaviour.
Lack of Authenticity
Being authentic is being genuine. It means saying what you really think and feel and being true to your values and beliefs. There is a robustness about authentic people. We may not always like their honesty but we know we can trust them to be honest and not to play games.
Closely linked to the ability to be authentic is the ability to show vulnerability. All humans feel vulnerable sometimes. An authentic person is able to admit that fact. When people are open and truthful and admit they are unsure, do not know the answer or reveal that they are afraid, this is vulnerability.
Not only does it help us to 'connect' to them as fellow human beings (seeing ourselves reflected in them), it enables us to trust them.
Essentially, admitting our vulnerability is being honest with ourselves and others. We are not pretending. We are admitting we are not perfect.