Honesty and Trust

In my August 19 2011 blog posting I tied passion with the value of integrity.  Part of the entry read to be a person of integrity requires honesty – being honest with yourself and so with others, keeping your word; requires trust – trusting yourself and so trusting others, being trusted and being able to trust others”

I’d like to pick up these comments and so tie passion with integrity and integrity with trust and honesty, and then these back again to passion


Honesty is a characteristic of a moral character.  Wikipedia defines honesty as a characteristic of a moral character “and denotes positive, virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, and straightforwardness in telling the truth, being sincere, truthful, honorable, fair, trustworthy, and loyal with integrity” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honesty

Anthony B Robinson (keynote speaker and preacher, consultant and coach, author, columnist and teacher) in his guest article “120 qualities you’ll find in a person of integrity”, states as number 3 “A person with integrity is truthful.  You can trust what they tell you”. http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Articles-Of-Faith-10-qualities-you-ll-find-in-a-1277815.php

It is not easy being truthful.  Too often we consider that the little ‘white lie’ is akin to telling the truth, and that a ‘near truth’ is as good as ‘the’ truth.

In his 1978 hit song “Honesty” (1978 Sony BMG music), Billy Joel takes an honest look at honesty and doesn’t like what he does not find…… “If you look for truthfulness you might just as well be blind and always seems so hard to find….”  His chorus lines paint even a dimmer reality:…”Honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue.  Honesty is hardly ever heard, mostly what I need from you”.  And in his relationship   “All I want is someone to believe…..”.

To ponder over:  As people of integrity and practitioners of passion, do we always give what people need?  Do people hear honesty from us?  Are we people to believe in?  What do we gain from being dishonest (or to put it another way what do we stand to lose if we are caught out being dishonest?)


I believe that trust and trustworthiness are central to successful human interaction – being able to trust others and being able to trust.  But what is ‘trust”?  Trust has different meanings to different people, to different roles and in different contexts/scenarios.  It is very much a subjective judgment. 

It is trust in the context of inter-personal relationships that I would like to dwell on for a moment.    Interpersonal trust involves two parties who interact with each other: on the one hand there I the person who trusts (trustor) and on the other hand there is the person who is trusted (trustee)  “Interpersonal trust is an expectation about a future behavior of another person and an accompanying feeling of calmness, confidence, and security depending on the degree of trust and the extent of the associated risk”  (Walter Bamberger 2010 in “Interpersonal Trust – Attempt of a Definition” http://www.ldv.ei.tum.de/en/research/fidens/interpersonal-trust/

Brian Tracy (Canadian life-coach, motivator and speaker) says trust is the glue that holds all relationships together. “The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.”  Note how he links trust with integrity.

To ponder over:  As people of integrity and practitioners of passion, how trustworthy are we?  Do we trust our students?  Are we people to believe in? 


As an educator who in past positions has also had to take the role of the Deputy Principal in charge of student management (secondary) one of the things I commented on often to students is that one of my pet dislikes in people was lying because without honesty I felt that a relationship built on trust could not occur, and that without the allied value of respect, honesty could not be built.  I did not take this view because of some doctoral paper or book that I had read but on the basis of my own personal value base.  I believe that you respect those people you trust and one reason you respect them is because you believe in their integrity, with honesty. 

A very recent blog post “how honest leaders destroy their leadership”, comments that ‘it takes more than honesty to preserve trust, you must show respect”. http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/how-honest-leaders-destroy-their-leadership/

Some people work from the premise that trust must be earned, and some from the premise that trust is assumed but can be lost.  Albeit it with the associated dangers of being let down, I take the view that if a person of passion and hence integrity (say a teacher)  is to establish a true relationship with another (say, a student), then trust should be assumed.

To ponder over:  As people of integrity and practitioners of passion, do we work on the premise that trust must be earned, or from the premise that trust is assumed?  Do we believe that relationships with students should be constructed on both honesty and respect?


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