Friday, December 20, 2013

Managing Trust Deficit

INTRODUCTION - Phenomenon of Trust Deficit

Trust has two dimensions - human as well as non-human. At human level, trust means to believe that somebody is good, sincere, honest, responsible, etc. and will not try to harm or trick you. At non-human level, trust means to believe that something is genuine, efficient, dependable, etc. and will not work faultily.

Human personality has two facets - internal & external. At internal level, man is combination of three interdependent identities of self, i.e., body, mind, and soul. Human body is visible aspect of self. Body plays manifold crucial roles during various life activities. A reliable role of a body depends on its healthy profile. A healthy body is fit physically and responds actively. Second, human mind is invisible aspect of self. A trustworthy mind is stable combination of multiple intelligences. The prominent intelligences are perceptual intelligences, emotional intelligences, and intentional intelligences. A stable mind is reflective, sensitive, and constructive. Finally, human soul is spiritual aspect of self. An upright soul is shaped through proper satisfaction of naturally ingrained spiritual urges. The prominent spiritual urges are religious, aesthetic, and ethical. A balanced, moderate, and enlightened approach towards multiple spiritual urges forms a trustworthy soul. A trustworthy soul is intuitive, creative, and cautious. At internal level, a shared collaboration among body needs, psychological desires, and soul urges figures out a dependable personality. At external level, man is linked with animate and inanimate objects of universe. Structurally, external human links are twofold. They are natural as well as voluntary. For example, a link between parents and children is natural, while a link between husband and wife is voluntary. These links may become inactive on account of multiple reasons. However, one thing plays a cementing role; it is common purpose or vision among interlinked persons/groups. A shared purpose gives strength to human links. A shared purpose/vision thus develops reliable natural or voluntary links among individuals or groups. Purpose sharing is developed slowly and gradually through intentional efforts. A stable presence of shared purpose/vision among individuals indicates viable external link or collective networking of an individual. There is significant correlation between internal and external aspects of self. Developing trustworthiness on internal anatomy of self is critical in creating trustworthiness at external level. Trust deficit indicates a situation of conflict at internal level or absence of shared vision at external level. It is noteworthy that the stability on external linkages is dominantly outcome of internal stability. For example, a doubt-driven person internally would have skeptical or fragile links with related people.

Human life-pattern is combination of independent and interactive life activities. The independent activities shape isolated/private life-pattern. On the other hand, the interactive activities shape collective/public life-pattern. At interactive level, we are linked with each other either socially or economically or politically. Conceptually, the interactive links get strength from common purpose or vision, while practically the interactive links get strength from costs-benefits. A common vision or costs-benefits approach inevitably follows some values, so that, the collective links are fortified on account of interactive values. For example, a social link is dependable on account of social commitments of concerned persons; an economic link is reliable on account of fair dealings among economic agents, and finally a political link is credible on account of flexibility level of political class towards conflicting political pressures. Trust deficit indicates a situation of doubt or reluctance between individuals/groups. The uncertainty or mistrust arises due to absence of some commonly accepted rules or standards.

ABSOLUTE BASES OF TRUST - Individual and Collective

Individually, the absolute strength of a trusty person is consistent mindset and persistent behavior. A Consistent Mindset is stable combination of mind powers. Naturally, human mind has three mind powers - perceptual, emotional, and intentional. A consistent mindset manifests reliable conceptual approach towards self and others. A consistent mindset is positive, so that it is trustworthy. Occasionally, a consistent mindset may think cunningly under Devil-Desire Framework but commonly it works sincerely. At behavioral level, human conduct is outcome of some personality traits. The prominent personality traits are faith, knowledge, wisdom, and manners. Faith and knowledge are basic traits while wisdom and manners are derivative traits. A stable combination of personality traits leads towards persistent behavior. A persistent behavior is trustworthy, individually and collectively. Occasionally, a persistent person may act/react wrongly due to conflicting and contradictory demands of self and others. The situation is not lasting due to recurring pressure of persistent personality traits so that stability is restored, ultimately.

Collectively, human links follows inevitably some moral principles. The prominent moral principles for smooth collective life are justice, merit, impartiality, and equality during collective interactions. The very existence of moral principles or values gives longevity and permanence to collective life. It is noteworthy that values are standard measures to maintain smooth level of interaction among people. Although a value can be utilized to exploit someone, but misuse of value cannot be a permanent feature of interactive life. So that a trusty link is decisively value-driven, while an unreliable interaction is outcome of valueless attitude. The absolute basis of trustworthy interaction is thus practical existence of values or matter-of-fact ethical code.


Trust is damaged on two grounds - ethical and non ethical. At ethical level, it is cheating that disturbs trust level. At non ethical level, it is non fulfillment of expectations that damages trust. Trust deficit due to cheating is overt reason of mistrust while the non-fulfillment of expectation is covert reason of mistrust. Mistrust does not mean complete termination of linkages rather it specifies the extent or scope of interaction. It is level of cheating or area of expectations that determines extent of trust deficit among individuals/groups. Cheating is either planned or unplanned. A planned cheating is intentional, lustful, and dreadful. It demands a categorical stance towards interaction. On the other hand, an unplanned cheating is unintentional, nave, and momentary, it demands cautious attitude during interaction. Expectations are essential aspect of interactive life. Expectations are rational or optimist and irrational or pessimist. During manifold human interactions, the invisible expectations towards one another plays an important or decisive role. A positive expectation towards someone creates better interactive environ, while a negative expectation may lead towards hostile environ. Rational expectations are information-based, intellect-driven, and hope-oriented. An expectation becomes rational through due process of time. Moreover, a trust is not developed on irrational expectations. Generally, a trust based on some irrational expectations is shattered quickly on account of shaky foundation of irrational expectations. A proper fulfillment of expectations enhances trust level while non fulfillment of expectations leads towards mistrust among individuals/groups. It is noteworthy that rational expectation remains positive/optimist towards someone unless some factual information/rational analysis suggest an opposite guideline on expectations.


Trust is created / improved through countless actions; however, the prominent steps are honoring commitment, giving sacrifices at the time of hardships, and to show integrity on varied life challenges. However, a stable trust may also disturb due to manifold reasons such as conspiracy, miscommunication, and miscalculation. A common reference is used to maintain trustworthy linkages. A common reference is either visible or invisible; it may be common purpose of life, shared vision, common friend, common enemy, etc. A conspiracy against time-honored trust is possible activity of interactive life. Conspiracy is either temporal or spatial. At temporal level, interactive timing is manipulated to convey a wrong message about someone/something. On the other hand, at spatial level, interactive environ is maneuvered to draw a wrong conclusion about someone/ something. A disturbed trust level is restored through setting frame of reference for interaction. A value-driven time-space framework of interaction is inevitable to restore normalcy among linkages. A genuinely created trust account is used during some odd situations or crises. An active presence of trust account avoids reactionary behavior, misinterpretation, and wrong expectations; rather an established trust account shapes proactive behavior, effective communication, and rational expectations.

Trust level among individuals/groups is changing phenomenon. It decreases as swell as increases on account of some supportive factors. These factors are not foundational during trust creation but they affect performance of individuals/groups during interaction. They change trust level silently and secretly. Specifically, trust level is increased on account of responsibility, pro-active behavior, discipline, and courtesy towards each other. On the other hand trust level is lessened on account of volatility, inactive/reactive behavior, indiscipline, and discourtesy towards one another.


Human interaction is dominantly trust-oriented interaction. At social level, a link between husband and wife is trust-based. Whenever, the basic pillar is affected the entire family life become a deplorable social crisis. At economic level, a link among economic agents is trust-based, whenever, the trust is shattered due to exploitative steps of an economic agent the whole economic struggle converts into mess or opportunism. At political level, a link between leader and follower is essentially trust driven, whenever, the trust is damaged or mistrust become rule of the land the whole political environ presents picture of plundering, chaos, and turmoil. A trust crisis generates countless interactive crises. Absence of trust leads towards misinterpretation of situation or events. Communication between individuals touches her lowest ebb. A communication gap widens exponentially. People develop newer or minor circle for interaction. A minor circle means micromanagement of linkages. Obviously, the countless benefits of associational environment are lost due to micro-circles/micro-management. The process of crisis generation remains active till root cause is not settled amicably/wisely.


Life is heavily indebted to countless professions or professionals. A professional is engineer, doctor, lawyer, accountant, manager, etc. A professional makes multiple life tasks easier. A really good professional does not harm someone intentionally. A layman of a field depends inevitably on a professional for multiple tasks of a specific field. A person cannot be manipulated indefinitely so that an unreliable professional is failed in her professional carrier, sooner or later. A recurring mistrust between layman client and professional is counter-productive for both. A shaky link is broken, ultimately. It is responsibility of professional, dominantly and decisively, to shape a productive link with her clients. A professional may convince the client about certain intricate aspects of work. Generally, a professional is unable to convert the professional jargon into layman language easily understandable for client. The solution lies in to utilize a common reference or some standard practices for trust building. For example, a warranty or guarantee method can be applied to satisfy someone or a user manual can be given with work/product.


The cornerstone of leadership phenomenon is to achieve trust of followers. Mistrust between leader and follower is common experience of institutional life. A trust deficit between leader and follower turns the institutional phenomenon into disaster. Market survey proves that more than 50 percent of employees simply don't believe the information or intention they receive from top management. At institutional level, mistrust once created manifests three traits:

1. It is auto-generating,

2. It is infectious, i.e., behaves like a virus, &

3. It is resistant to change.

Firstly, mistrust at institutional level is perpetual phenomenon so that it multiplies overtime and increases more mistrust. A concerted effort is required to avoid self-generation of mistrust among institutional stakeholders.

Secondly, institutions are initiated to actualize some common goals of interdependent individuals. Teamwork is vital for institutional development. Presence of mistrust means infected teamwork.

Thirdly, change is inevitable aspect of institutional life. During change the affected persons think beyond worst / best, so that mistrust means no change or extreme resistance to change or haphazard effort towards change.

Dr. Covey nicely concluded that an institution encounters four vicious circles during her developmental journey - non-acceptance of innovative idea, ineffective leadership towards actualization of idea, mismanagement during idea implementation, and resistance to change/innovation. The common element of every vicious circle is mistrust. At idea level, it is doubt or hesitation of intellectual or originator of idea. At leadership level, it is lack of trust of leader on her leadership credential. An ineffective leadership is unable to actualize the idea. At management level, it is absence of reliable managerial practices or presence of managerial corruption that kills successful implementation of idea. At change level, it is infected teamwork based on mistrust that shapes crises or avoid change.

Mistrust is not unidirectional episode rather it is circular phenomenon. A leader is trapped on account of duplicity of follower, while a follower is fascinated due to glowing maneuverings of leader. An objective and value based approach towards management system / individual growth is effective solution towards institutional mistrust.

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