Scoutmaster Minute – The Truth About Trust: How to Build a Sustainable, Successful Relationships

We all know it is imperative to build trust. In fact, I have found there is a direct correlation between the amount of trust and rewards. The more someone trusts you, the more likely they are to open and help you achieve more rewards.

So the key question is how do we build trust with anyone? The answer is to understand how trust is truly built and what you can immediately do to build it. After working with people over my lifetime, I have found the most important way to build trust is through honest communication. The problem is most people feel they are honest, but when we really look at it, they are not.

There was a study done years ago that reported 91% of people lie on a regular basis. I think the other 9% of the study lied. I say this because our reasons for being dishonest are not often because we want to be unethical. It is simply because we are afraid to speak the truth. We tend to believe if we really say what we are thinking, it will not go over well and could hurt our relationships. And the truth is, it can hurt us, but it is usually because we didn’t tell the full truth.

That’s why the biggest problem is not what people say. It’s really what they don’t say – the feeling where we think, “If only they had told us, we could have done a lot better job.” For example, we might think, “If someone had just told us a lone scout had wondered off during the day, we could have addressed the issue early and had a lot better chance of finding him in the daylight before the storm.”

When we really look at the three most important levels of honest communication, we can begin to address what to do to correct and enhance any relationship. Ask yourself these questions: What level of honesty are you, and how honest are people with you?

Level one of honesty is reactive honesty

This is where we wait to be asked, and if we properly ask someone, they tell us the truth. The problem is if the right question isn’t asked, then we don’t get the answer we need. Yet when we challenge someone, the rationale is “well you didn’t ask me that question.” When someone is telling us something and their rationale is, “they never asked,” we tend to feel lied to and this breaks down trust. The solution is in the other two levels of honesty.

The second level of honesty is proactive honesty

This is where, without prompting, we and others proactively share what needs to be said. For instance, we might say, “Here are the proper restrictions that need to be considered, that you may not be considering at this moment when looking at the scout activities.”

The third level of honesty is the gold standard, called foreshadowing honesty

This is proactively sharing our perspective, without waiting to be asked, and looking into the future to anticipate possible challenges. By doing this we proactively foreshadow what might happen and address said challenges. An example would be where we anticipate certain situations where scouts will go, as well as maybe even the risks of the situation, and advise accordingly with regards to restrictions.

So, the 3 questions you want to ask yourself are:

1.What level of honesty are you with your family and how can you enhance it?

2.What level of honesty are you with your fellow scouts and how do you improve it?

3.What level of honesty is there within the troop you are a part of, and how do you grow it?

After all, if you are not receiving the right, honest communication, how can you deliver the right, honest communication?

Jerry Robertello
Troop 1113 Scoutmaster
Fairfax, VA

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