Trust Building — Part 1: The 4R’s of Building Trust

  • A Search for Social Identity — the increasing mobility of people and the ease of global communications seems almost to make it possible for everyone to live everywhere. As a result, huge new multicultural populations are emerging around the world that have mixed identities- grounded in their new homelands but in touch with countries of heritage. Thus today one’s social identity is fluid and often determined by changing global circumstances and remains a paradox.
  • Accountability — there is a global issue of authority. As the concept of the nation-state becomes diluted with globalisation, it is no longer clear who is in charge. This phenomenon is further exacerbated by disaffected nationalist regimes and movements that claim — but have seemingly lost — moral bearings.
  • Security — we see mass disillusionment with the system of sovereign, secular states. National unities have been challenged by division based on religious and tribal identities and new ideologies of nationalism have emerged based on the sectarian interests of religion.

The Trust Quotient

  • Credibility is about rating “what you say and how believable you are to others.” In other words, you must be and sound credible if you are asking others to follow your lead. Credibility also comes from integrating spirituality and a language of faith into what you say and do.
  • Reliability measures “actions, and how dependable you appear.” The actions need to follow up words. Do you ‘say what you do and do what you say’? So people need to know that you will come through for them.
  • Intimacy considers “how safe people feel in sharing with and being with you.” So often we are emotionally distant from others but we need to create opportunities to ensure that leaders do keep their emotional distance from their followers, but when you are presented with confidential information, you need to keep it so. It is also about keeping trust that God’s Plan for you is the best plan. That no matter if you are facing something positive or negative, it was chosen for you and you can handle it;
  • The fourth characteristic, self-orientation, refers to personal focus, e.g. yourself or others. What the equation shows is that too much self-focus will lower your degree of trustworthiness. It is important to demonstrate a strong ego but if your power is all about you, then few will follow. Self-Orientation refers to the focus of yourself. Self-orientation, which sits alone in the denominator, thus is the most important variable in the Trust Equation. A person with low self-orientation is free to completely and honestly focus on the other person — not for his own sake, but for the sake of the other person. Thus “Lowering self-orientation” can improve trustworthiness. When all you focus on is helping prospects, they trust you more. Ego is a common enemy that is a main impediment to learning and the cultivation of talent. With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure it magnifies each blow and makes recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back (Holliday 2016).

The 4R’s

Take Responsibility

Build Relationships

Ensure Respect

Always Reflect

Living the Trust Values

Works Cited



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Dr Amjad Mohamed-Saleem

Dr Amjad Mohamed-Saleem


is an analyst writing on decolonisation,peacebuilding,humanitarian,interfaith,Islam, Sri Lanka & other issues of interest. Have a PhD on ethno politics