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Integrity and trust

Link with motivation

The aim of any manager is to develop the latent ability of people.
This is done in many ways but the key element to motivation is a sense of integrity and trust on the part of the manager.
When an individual wants to perform at a high level he or she has motivation that is driven by the satisfaction of a personal need.

In this sense the person wants to establish a better future for him or herself.
There is a hope that things will change for the better at some time.

Without integrity and trust motivation will be hard to achieve.
Integrity and trust are closely linked.

A dictionary definition for integrity is:

‘adherence to moral principles or honesty’.

In other words, it is no good just speaking about trust you have to show it all the time in your actions.

Getting people to do their best requires a little more than speaking a few words, for example, “We trust that you can get on with this by yourself.”

This sort of phrase does not establish trust, it actually says, “we’re taking a risk in letting you do this by yourself so don’t mess it up.”
Watch how you use the word ‘trust’ in conversation.

Trust can only be truly displayed when the manager is absent.


Remember that trust is a two way affair. You can not ask anything of people that you are unwilling to provide yourself.

Words matter, both when and how you say them. Consider what you say and keep calm.
If you approach problems in a calm manner others will follow your example.

Know your people and treat them as human beings rather than a resource and you will engender trust.

If you say you are going to do something then do it. Make no excuses.

Don’t keep secrets. Keep people informed as well as you can. Communication (see Communication – part 1) is paramount when you’re trying to build trust.

Learn to become an excellent listener (see Self Motivation - 5). Appreciate peoples’ input and views.

Maintain a good sense of humour but make sure you don’t overstep the mark by recognising the sensitivity of individuals.

Keep comments positive and never raise a negative comment against an individual in public.

Trust has to be earned. The only way you can do this is to give it and see what happens. You wouldn’t give anyone £100,000 without certain assurances but you may give them the control of £5, then £50, then £200 etc. in just the same way you will have to build up trust slowly.

Don’t act. If you can’t be yourself others will eventually see through you. Treat other as humans and be human yourself.


Gaining integrity and trust does not always proceed smoothly.
Many attempts to improve trust often cause many more problems than you are trying to solve.
With the best intentions things can go wrong if you don’t think how your efforts may be received from the perspective of the individual.

For example, if you don’t explain your intentions then can easily be misinterpreted.
If you suddenly provide extra resource, for example, man power, you may think you are helping.
The individual may consider it an intrusion and a display of your lack of trust and confidence in them to do the job alone.

Trust only exists where there is equality and that also means understanding.

  • Make sure you don’t try to manipulate people, it’s easy to spot
  • Tell key personnel of your intentions directly, don’t let them find out second hand
  • Keep in contact with people


Integrity and trust are closely allied to an individual’s basic values.
If you try to violate these gaining trust is going to be extremely hard to achieve.

Getting your own values into the area you control may seem hard.
The way you manage and motivate others must agree with the values and vision statement of the organisation.
All you can do is try to influence the values of the part under your control.

However, if you don’t believe in something yourself then don’t try to convince others.