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10. Being a Person People Trust

Building Integrity Into Your Relationships


"We teach what we know, but we reproduce what we are." -- John C. Maxwell

Trust doesn’t come easily for me, perhaps because of my personality, but more likely because of a worldview that was shaped by my childhood experiences. As a result of this, I need to preface this post with two encouragements.

First, in order to become a person people trust, you need to learn to be a person who trusts others. Please don’t read that statement as an instruction to trust all people because there are people in the world that you should not trust (i.e. the opposite of our points on being a person people trust to follow), but what I mean is that you need to learn to be open to trusting others. As I’ve already stated, trust doesn’t come easily for me; but for a large part of my life, I wore that truth like a badge of honor, proud of my ability to hold everyone at arm's length. But it has taken years of self-reflection and growth to realize that if I want to be in a relationship with someone, I need to take the hard road and be open to trusting them, even if there is a chance that I will get hurt or disappointed.

Second, in order to become a person people trust, you also need to be a person that you, yourself, can trust. As we explore the five points to being a person people trust, consider how you apply them to yourself — how do you think about yourself, how do you talk to yourself, do you believe in yourself, etc. I recommend this again because of personal experience, the same experiences that taught me that it was easier not to trust others. But as John Maxwell says, “It’s important to be what [we] ask others to do. We teach what we know, but we reproduce what we are.”

With that, let’s get into how you can be a person that others trust!

Appreciate people for who they are

Often we appreciate people for what they do, not for who they are. We appreciate them when they achieve, produce, or perform in a way that makes our lives easier or makes us look good to others. But the people in our homes, our workplaces, our churches, and our communities have value because they are unique. They have their own personalities and strengths, and each person has something to contribute to the world because of their intrinsic value. To be a People Person others trust, you must learn to see people for who they are, not just for what they can do.

Encouragement causes growth

The saying, “You get more flies with honey than with vinegar,” rings true when developing trusting relationships with others. Do you know someone whose criticism or faultfinding is like vinegar to your life? Do you feel good about yourself and others after being in their company? Do they help build your confidence, or do they tear it down? Obviously, we all have faults and shortcomings, but encouragement promotes growth, while criticism merely breaks the spirit. To be a People Person others trust, find ways to encourage others to give them the confidence to reach new heights.

Believe the best

John Maxwell often says, “how we view a person is reflected by how we treat them. If we have a high expectation level and believe in people, we will encourage them.” This doesn’t mean that you hold them to an impossible standard, rather that you understand their value, recognize their potential, and respond to them “not as they are, but as they can be.” Many people have low expectations of themselves, but to be a People Person others trust, treat everyone like they are top of the line, or in John’s words, “like a 10”; see their potential, and help them see it for themselves by how you respond to them.

"A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way." -- John C. Maxwell

Help others be successful

Have you ever tried something hard and succeeded? “Winning increases our self-image, our outlook on life, and lifts our expectation level. It gives us the confidence that we can succeed again.” The best way to help others be successful is to align their personality, strengths, and abilities to their tasks; otherwise, you are just setting them up for failure. As a People Person others trust, learn to discern the preferences, strengths, and desires of others and match them to the available opportunities.

Equip people for future growth

One of the hardest things for people who understand the importance of growth to realize is that we can only be responsible for our own growth, we can’t force growth on anyone else. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t equip them for growth. John Maxwell gives four equipping steps for a People Person others trust to follow:

  1. Demonstrate the benefits of growth in your own life.

  2. Prove that success is possible by connecting them with others who have been where they are and grown through it successfully.

  3. Provide opportunities for growth for them to take advantage of.

  4. Stand back and encourage.

This week, consider the following questions:

  • Which of these areas do you need to develop in how you relate to yourself?

  • What steps can you take to promote growth in this area?

  • Which of these areas do you need to develop in how you relate to others?

  • What steps can you take to promote growth in this area?

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