What’s your Trust Quotient?

Shawn always opens and reads all mails and letters – whether it is addressed to him or not. Even his wife’s phone is not out of bounds for him. He does the same with his children too under the guise of protecting them from some unknown stalker. At work he habitually double checks any work his team is doing; even for routine matters he feels they cannot be trusted. If someone is on leave, his first suspicion is that they are out giving interviews. He rarely shares full information with his team, fearing they may misuse it. Whether it is family members or team members, if they are travelling alone, he finds excuses to keep calling and checking on their whereabouts.

Does any of this remind you of someone? Doesn’t it reek of distrust?

Trust is the foundation of all human connections, and yet very easily broken and lost. It is not rewarded automatically; trust has to be earned and preserved. Trust exists at two levels, one where trusting someone means that you think they are reliable, you have confidence in them and their skill e.g. when you are flying to another location, you are trusting the pilot with your safety and life. Or when you are entrusting a critical task to someone in your team believing they will perform well and live up to your expectation. At a deeper level trusting someone means that in addition to reliability and confidence you feel safe with them physically and emotionally. You can share your vulnerabilities with them without fear. Their word is enough and no more proof is required. This level of trust is essential in building long term relationships, whether personal or professional.

Trust is also essential to leadership. It is very important for a leader to be able to trust and gain trust to effectively steer the company towards growth and glory.

Why do people like Shawn find it difficult to trust others?

Our propensity to trust is based on many factors such as our personality, early childhood role models and experiences, beliefs and values, culture, self-awareness and emotional maturity. The nature of attachment to our caregivers in childhood—whether it’s secure or insecure, plays a big role in how trusting we are, because these early attachments provide the working model of how we see the world and the people in it. The combination of these factors and experiences shapes how quickly, and how much trust we extend to others. Those who have been hurt by broken relationships in the past often hurt other people in a dysfunctional form of self-protection. Whether it’s unnecessarily withholding trust, having unrealistic expectations of others, being trapped in a victim mentality, lashing out at others, or operating out of low self-esteem, our past experiences with broken trust can easily derail us from developing healthy, high-trust relationships.

Lying, cheating or abusing are obvious forms of betrayal, but it is sometimes the small nicks and ‘trust paper-cuts’ inflicted over time which can lead to a breakdown of trust. Most people don’t realise how these small acts of ‘betrayal’ slowly erode trust. Some examples of this are:

  • Gossip and backbite: Talk about each other rather than with each other when issues arise.
  • Withhold information or fail to act on requests for information promptly.
  • Take more credit than is truly deserved.
  • Change plans without consulting all persons involved.
  • Spin the truth rather than tell it like it is.
  • Are late for work or appointments frequently.
  • Not keeping your word repeatedly.
  • Dodging responsibility.

What is dangerous is that when we see people around indulging in such acts, we start finding justifications in semi-truths, so we feel less guilty doing it ourselves.


Living with distrust and suspicion leads to severe mental and emotional stress which finally affects the health too. Humans are wired to live as a community and trust is a basic foundation for that. If you want to improve your trust quotient, you need to work on both ends – your trustworthiness and ability to trust others. Consciously conduct yourself in a manner that others are able to trust you:

  • Walk the talk – Ensure there is no gap between what you say you value and what you do.
  • Be humble – Humility involves acknowledging others’ contributions rather than seeking all the glory.
  • Demonstrate courage – Courage is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. It is about being brave enough to be vulnerable and admit mistakes.

Let go of your past and renew your ability to trust, because having a low propensity to trust can hold you back from experiencing true joy and fulfilment in relationships.


If you are struggling with distrust and want to move to a more trusting space which gives you peace of mind and freedom to live with joy, contact Khyati Shah on 9820124814 or write to her at khyatishah@katalist.net.in.

About the Author:

Khyati Shah is a Transformation Coach and certified in Transactional Analysis. She is a speaker at Nasscom and has trained several people through her workshops and training programs. To know more, please visit: www.katalist.net.in

12 thoughts on “What’s your Trust Quotient?”

  1. Aarti Mangaonkar

    Hey… Very well written Khyati… Keep it up and all the very best 😊

  2. Trust is an important part in the functioning of any organisation. Very well explained.

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