Entrepreneurs face trust issues every day. When you hire new people, for example, it's natural to wonder if they will fit into the culture. Will they commit to your company mission? And are your trade secrets safe in their hands?Trusting someone else's judgment and accuracy is an ongoing battle. It's no wonder many entrepreneurs struggle with letting go and delegating their work load. 

Certainly, asking the right questions and doing your research on prospective new hires will help to mitigate these concerns so that you can build a stellar, trustworthy team. But you might be missing a critical awareness about trust: it is a two-way street.

Being the business owner does not automatically entitle you to the trust of your employees; trust is earned. If you want outstanding results from your team you must journey down this two-way street to build mutual trust.

Author Nan S. Russell sums it up well. "People don't give their ideas, discretionary efforts, enthusiasm, or best work to people they don't trust," she says.

Russell maintains that you can pay for someone to come to work and do what they need to do, but you cannot suction ideas, discretionary efforts, and innovative solutions from their minds. In her recently published book, "Trust, Inc.: How to Create a Business Culture That Will Ignite Passion, Engagement, and Innovation," Russell teaches the value of what she calls "trust currency." Basically this means creating a culture of reciprocity and mutual support fueled by the exchange of trust. The values-based leadership style modeled by powerful influencers around the world begins with a strong foundation of trust.

Are you modeling the behavior that will elicit trust from your employees, partners, and in your personal relationships? Russell offers these 10 behavioral check points in her book. Check off those that are part of your regular operating style to see how you're doing in the mutual trust department.

The Quiz

Answer true or false.

  1. I influence more by my actions than my words.
  2. I am self-aware and recognize the impact of my beliefs and actions on others. I am tuned in to their needs, strengths and perspectives.
  3. I give trust before I expect trust because I realize that trust evolves incrementally over time.
  4. I use trust-elevating communication techniques. I own my message, actions, and mistakes and authentically show up in the process.
  5. I operate from a "best of self" core with characteristics like kindness, compassion, love, tolerance, and integrity.
  6. I genuinely want the best for others.
  7. I help others to relate by telling stories at work that are impactful and that positively influence the culture and those in it.
  8. I get things done the right way with ethics, integrity, and positive intention that builds relationships.
  9. I collaborate, cooperate, consider, and contribute. I value relationships and build lasting ones not only by what I do, but also by how I do it.
  10. I demonstrate competence. I do what I promise to do and do it well. I always assist others along the way.

If you checked eight or more on the list you are using behaviors that will help you with the creation of trust currency. Seven or less? Well, you may want to pick up a copy of Russell's book. You'll learn how to increase the probability of producing the trust currency that will take you to your vision of success.