New England Coaching


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In a recent HBR article by David DeSteno, he provided four cautionary insights into evaluating whether somebody was trustworthy or not.

1. Integrity can vary and is typically based on long and short term consequences

2. Power does corrupt, subject to absence or presence of vulnerability

3. Confidence often masks incompetence

4. It’s ok to trust your gut

Bearing all of these in mind, to what degree then does trustworthiness effectively influence our decision making process

Within the realms of Emotional Intelligence and specifically the Genos International model, there is a skill called Emotional Reasoning.  This assesses the degree to which we use emotions in the decision making process.  For many people there is a tendency to over rely on the facts – “in God we trust; all others bring data” and many would contend that emotions, such as trustworthiness, don’t factor in at all.  However in reality, they do. Will you respond the same way to a request from somebody you like versus somebody you dislike?  Our emotions do influence the decisions we make and trustworthiness is a key component of this.  All of which then brings us back to DeSteno’s work.

The degree to which somebody is trustworthy has an enormous impact on how we respond.  Where this trust exists, relationships are strong and the “benefit of the doubt” prevails.  However we also need to be careful not to over rely on this as sometimes trust can be miscalculated and lead to bad decisions.  We have all heard ourselves saying ‘I thought I could trust him” and be left bitterly disappointed.  As you assess the trustworthiness of people, be mindful of what DeSteno is suggesting to ensure your assessment is sound and the decisions you make correct.

About Bill Sex

Bill Sex is President of New England Coaching and specializes in supporting personal, professional and organizational advancement with specific emphasis on coaching skills, emotional intelligence and employee engagement / motivation.

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