(The ABCD Trust Model)
The COVID-19 Pandemic put employees’ trust in their leaders at stake. Do your subordinates trust you as a leader? Do they follow you because they believe in your vision? Or they just are obliged to do so? High levels of trust allow creativity, productivity, efficiency, and innovation to flourish whilst a lack of trust creates cynicism, doubt, and anxiety. Trust is a key factor in how people work together and build effective relationships, yet many people are unaware of the actions that influence trust. The ABCD Trust Model™ created by Ken Blanchard is a leadership model which emphasizes leading with trust.
The ability to build trust is an essential skill for leaders. It is worthwhile for leaders to assess themselves against all the four elements to discover if they might be contributing to low-trust relationships through behaviours that are less than Able, Believable, Connected, and Dependable. By using the ABCD Trust Model™, leaders can focus on the behaviours that build trust, and by sharing this model with those they lead, create a common framework and language for discussing issues of trust in the workplace. Individuals can create action plans to increase the level of trust in relationships or repair damaged relationships where trust has been broken.
The ABCD Trust Model™ sets out the four elements of trust that are critical to creating and sustaining trustful relationships: ABCD – Able, Believable, Connected, and Dependable.
- Able – Demonstrate competence. Leaders who can earn trust by solving problems, getting results, and using their skills to help others achieve established goals.
- Believable – Act with integrity. Leaders who are believable earn trust by being honest and sincere, showing respect for others, keeping confidence, not talking behind people’s backs, and admitting their own mistakes.
- Connected – Care about others. Leaders who are connected earn trust by showing interest in others, asking for input, listening, showing empathy, praising others’ efforts, and sharing about themselves.
- Dependable – Maintain reliability. Dependable leaders are organized, timely, accountable, and responsive to requests; they do what they say they’ll do and consistently follow up.
This is not something that happens overnight. Trustworthiness is a journey, not a destination. Trust in personal and professional relationships is an ever-evolving concept, shifting with your every action, and, therefore, it is crucial to act and respond in such a way to maintain levels of this invaluable commodity. If you are behaving in a way that makes it clear that you are Able, Believable, Connected, and Dependable, others’ levels of trust in you will grow, in both new relationships, old, and those which you may once have believed were irreparably damaged by past events. High levels of trust will ultimately prove incredibly beneficial to both yourself and those reliant on your leadership for guidance and to facilitate their development.