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How trusting are you when you work with someone new?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How trusting are you when you work with someone new?

  • I trust them completely until they demonstrate I shouldn’t: 17%
  • I’m generally trusting but proceed with some caution: 65%
  • I need people to earn my trust over time: 10%
  • I don’t trust people at first but warm up once they prove themselves: 7%
  • I don’t trust people at all. Ever.: 1%

Trust is given then lost. Eighty-two percent of you say you’re willing to trust people right off the bat, albeit with some caution. The bigger the issue you’re trusting someone on, the larger the risk you’re taking in extending trust. That said, trust builds efficiencies, collaboration and a less stressful environment. If you do want to proceed with caution, think through the unknown variables that cause you to withhold trust then figure out how you can get certainty around those variables. Be pointed in your diligence. That will enable you to extend full trust on smaller issues while protecting yourself at the same time from major adverse events.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. His is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box,” and “The Elegant Pitch.”