Trust is everything…

June 15th, 2013 @   -  No Comments


What was the Prophet’s (PBUH) best-known personal quality?

He was called As-Sadiq al Ameen (the truthful, the trustworthy).

Can you imagine what would have happened if the Prophet (PBUH) was untrustworthy? Would the people have followed him?

Of course not!

Trust is the fundamental pillar of any relationship, at home, at work, in the community or in the world at large. Although we are careful sometimes, we generally trust that the organizations and people we deal with do what they are supposed to do, according to whatever agreement or expectations they have set for us.

Indeed, Allah describes the believers as “Those who faithfully observe their trusts and their covenants” (Quran 23:008).

As a leader, how do you build trust in your team and your relationships?

Be trustworthy.

This may seem obvious and most people would claim to be trustworthy, but what does it mean in real life? The Prophet (PBUH) taught us the following:

  • Safeguard the trust people place with you whether it is material or moral. Even the Prophet’s (PBUH) enemies trusted him with their valuables. When he was forced to leave Mecca, he asked Ali (RA) to return the trusts people left with him to their owners.
  • Keep promises and commitments. The Prophet (PBUH) never broke a promise or a commitment regardless of the circumstances.
  • Stand up for justice as instructed in the Quran: “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do” (Quran 4:135).
  • Keep people’s secrets. The Prophet (PBUH) taught us to treat people’s secrets like any other trust.
  • Stand up with the truth even if it is against you or against those close to you. The Quran teaches us “O ye who believe! Fear God and be with those who are true (in word and deed)” (Quran 9:119).

Help others to be trustworthy.

Of course it is up to other people to be trustworthy. However, you can help them become more trustworthy by trusting them. As Henry Stimson once said: “The chief lesson I have learned in a long life is that the only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him; and the surest way to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him and show your distrust.” Trusting your team, for example, means delegating important work to them, giving them the resources to do the work and giving them the space and time to allow them to innovate and produce great results.

Communicate well.

When people are unsure about or do not understand what is happening around them, suspicion and doubt creep into their minds. They fill in the gaps with hearsay or guesses about the intentions. Accumulation of suspicion and doubt eventually leads to mistrust. Keep your team members in the loop about all issues that concern them and seek their input.

Get to know others well.

The more we know the people around us, the more we trust them. Do you know what is happening in the lives of your team members outside of work? Take the time to ask about the important things in their life like their children, their hobbies, their aspirations, and their values. Once you get to know them well, nurture the relationship with care until trust blossoms.


Human beings are prone to making mistakes. When someone close errs against us, it is better to forgive because forgiveness is the first step to rebuilding trust. Forgiveness is easier when both parties understand how the other person feels about what happened and both parties are ready to change.

Rather than finding faults, find positive traits.

We are all imperfect. We do not like people delving into our faults and exposing them to others. Similarly, if we quietly accept other people’s faults and project their positive traits and strengths, this will enhance our credibility with them, leading to more trust.

Unfortunately, we are bound to encounter untrustworthy people sometime in our life. Should we allow them to diminish our trust in everybody else? I take Samuel Johnson’s advice, “It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.

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