Trust is the willingness to believe in the positive intentions or behaviors of another person. There are certain characteristics that mark out and develop trust between people. People can begin to build trust in others by explicitly demonstrating these qualities within the goals they set for themselves. Trust is partly based on reputation, so as relationships grow, deeper levels of trust can be acquired by setting more complex goals that the other person is emotionally invested in.
Early on in relationships, people are not familiar with each other, so they base their level of trust on a calculation of the costs and benefits to the goal-setter. People are more likely to trust in the intentions of the goal-setter if they believe they will gain a reward for fulfillment of that goal, or punishment for failing to attain it. Externally monitored goals with clear penalties or benefits are useful initial goals to set in the trust-building process.
Demonstrate Trustworthy Qualities
As relationships strengthen, less simplistic goals can be set which demonstrate the qualities that people find most indicative of trustworthiness. A report titled "An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust" shows that trust is often based on perceptions of ability, benevolence and integrity. Therefore completing goals that demonstrate expertise and capability are likely to build trust. Setting goals that benefit, or at least do not harm, others are likely to make the goal-setter seem trustworthy.
Set Common Goals
When both parties are set to gain or lose depending on the achievement of the goal, then each person has an increased level of investment in the goal being completed. The people doing the trusting already have an implicit trust in this type of situation, as they must believe in the benevolent motives of the person setting the goal -- i.e., that the goal-setter is not prepared to jeopardize the relationship through failure.
The Highest Level of Trust
While goals based on shared values or mutual interests tend to deepen the bond of trust between people, the highest level of trust is built when goals are solely linked to the welfare of the person doing the trusting. A strong relationship is usually already in place at this stage, and completion of the goal takes trust to a deeper level. These sorts of goals are often set by parents, teachers and caregivers on behalf of their wards.
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