Are You Honest?

Are you honest?

It’s a question we all answer yes to without much, if any, hesitation.

It’s also a question I ask from the stage dozens of times every year when I am keynoting conferences and client events.

I say, “Raise your hand if you’re trustworthy.” And of course, every hand shoots up…sometimes thousands of them.

Then I say, “Put your hands down. You don’t get to decide if you’re trustworthy. Who decides?”

And with zero hesitation, everyone says in unison, “The other person.”

Yep. You don’t get to decide if you’re trusted by others. Or if you’re honest. Or competent. Or even likable, while we’re at it.

Those who deal with you get to decide. Your direct reports. Your leader. Your client. Your vendor. Your neighbor. Your mother-in-law.

The fact is that we all must behave our way into a reputation of being trusted by others.

Not by what we say or promise, but by how we behave.

Here are some quick reminders of small ways you can begin today to build or rebuild a reputation of being trusted by others through your behavior:

  • Make and keep commitments.
  • Offer excuse-free apologies.
  • Demonstrate humility—remember, humble leaders are more concerned with what is right than being right.
  • Cease all gossip. Speak about everyone as if they were standing or sitting next to you.
  • Take full responsibility for your deliverables, and when you think you might falter, prepare the other person in advance.
  • Keep confidences—resist the temptation to divulge someone else’s private information.
  • Not every idea you have needs to be verbally expressed. Perhaps summon an unnatural level of restraint the next time you’re tempted to say what’s on your mind.

Just these seven practices can transform your brand and level of trustworthiness with others in quick order. Take one a day for the next week and see what happens to your relationships—in every area of your life.


Building a culture of trust starts with a shared vocabulary of simple, yet powerful phrases that leaders use to express gratitude, offer compassion, and provide support. Here are 10 phrases leaders use to build trust with team members.

About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. Previously, Scott worked for the Disney Development Company and grew up in Central Florida. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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