Between Clinton's evolving views on everything from trade relations to gay marriage and the email controversy that just won't quit, many Americans cannot bring themselves to back her candidacy. Their biggest qualm? Plainly, she's untrustworthy.
While I personally have little faith in politicians overall--sorry, I'm something of a cynic--it is striking just how many people think Clinton is an outright liar. Indeed, a growing number of voters (57 percent, up from 49 percent in March) say she is not honest or trustworthy, according to a new CNN/ORC poll on the election.
"People don't believe that she is telling the truth when she talks," Time magazine Washington bureau chief Michael Scherer said on a recent episode of Washington Week. Scherer called the poor favorability ratings resulting from her use of a private server for official State Department emails "a self-inflicted wound." He added that "she refuses to admit the obvious thing: She doesn't want her personal business to be made public.... It's that carefulness--it makes it so that she loses credibility."
You might care little about why people dislike Clinton. However, the question of whether she's trustworthy and why that's even important from the outset is a good one--particularly if what you aim to do is lead a company or inspire legions of consumers to buy your product.
People have to believe that you're more than just willing and capable. They have to feel that you're the right person for the job, that they're doing the right thing by following you or buying from you. Establish that, and you'll be better able to attract resources, customers, and workers. You'll also be able to more carefully steer an organization to safety and growth in good times and bad.
How to broadcast this kind of trustworthiness is the billion-dollar question, however. One idea is to always tell the truth, even if it hurts. That way, you become known as a straight shooter, and people will learn to expect that of you.
It's also about being vulnerable and candid about your fears and difficulties, which Clinton has been endeavoring to do. In a recent New York magazine article about Clinton's candidacy, writer Rebecca Traister offers this anecdote: On the campaign trail, Clinton says, some people tell her "'I really admire you, I really like you, I just don't know if I can vote for a woman to be president.' I mean, they come to my events and then they say that to me."
Then there's the story about her experience taking the LSATs at Harvard in the late 1960s, when precious few women were applying to law school. Clinton says, "I remember one young man said, 'If you get into law school and I don't, and I have to go to Vietnam and get killed, it's your fault.'"
That's got to be tough to hear, much less talk about with a journalist. Still, it's stories like these that show the tough times and how she has handled them that make her stronger. They make you think that if she can deal with that, she must really want to be president--and maybe she can do it, too.
Of course, it's much harder to come back after losing trust, and who knows if Clinton's latest efforts will work. Either way, humanizing yourself and highlighting your own vulnerabilities can go a long way in building others' faith in you. Trust me.