Trustworthiness In the Community

vs. unreliability

Gaining the confidence of others by demonstrating reliability

To practice Trustworthiness I will:

  • follow through on my commitments
  • complete all tasks to the best of my ability
  • keep confidences
  • tell the truth
  • anticipate the concerns of others
“Little Promises Count”

When I was teaching an upper-level computer class at a local university, I would start out in the first meeting building a rubric with the students for assessing the results of a home remodeling contractor with them as the customer.  I wrote five categories on the board:  Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor.  I asked them to describe what the work would look like in all the categories. They were very tough customers and it always started out that any infraction placed the work at the lower end of the scale. Excellent remained blank for a long time. After a while, I would work with each category and help them to better align the results with the assessments.

When the exercise was over, they understood that just doing what is expected is just Good.  Going the extra mile was Very Good and Excellence was consistently being Very Good.  When I explained that this was the rubric that I would use to grade their projects, the complaining began.  They could now see that what passed for an A in classes all their lives, was now a C.

In order to avoid a line at the registrar with students dropping my class, I had to ask for their trust in my promise to coach them to excellent results.  I also had to ask for their trust in themselves that they could excel in the class.  This promise required that my grading be very detailed.  Every example of above and beyond in their work needed to be noticed and rewarded.  Identifying missed opportunities for above and beyond in their work needed to be detailed and positively worded. Missing either on my part could be a cause for them to lose trust in me or themselves.

We all know it only takes one “Oops!” to wipe out a truckload of “Way to Go! What we forget is that the bigger our stash of kept promises, the easier it is to recover when an “Oops!” knocks us over. When it happens, we should admit our failing, fix what is fixable, forgive ourselves and start filling the truck again.

Trustworthiness is a lot like that rubric in that it is gained by being consistently reliable. Keeping promises – even the small ones – over time is what builds the confidence of others in our Trustworthiness. It also builds our confidence in trusting ourselves.

This month, focus on stockpiling kept promises and building your Trustworthiness.

Core Resources


Character All Month Long

A list of dates for the month of December that can be connected to Character, either generally or by a specific quality.

Community Resources