Trust means you’re not an asshole

This is the first of a series of posts from hand-picked guest bloggers about trust. The idea was kicked off by me rewatching Game of Thrones and thinking about its twin themes of power and trust.  

My first guest blogger is Cullen Habel, who I know personally, but first met via Twitter. I have great respect for Cullen because he is a straight shooter and tells it like it is, and this brilliant post is no exception (being a straight shooter myself, I know what a burden this can be!). Cullen has worked in academia, sales, hospitality, retail and a long time ago in a radio workshop. He has a habit of trying to look beyond the obvious. You can connect with him via Twitter or his blog.

Trust to me means I don’t think you’re a deep down asshole
– Cullen Habel

Trust is spoken about by academics as “an expectation that the other party will behave in accordance with some agreed norms” but academia has a way of sucking the life out of things.

I think it’s simpler. To me, trust is when I think that you’re – deep down – not an asshole. Harsh word I know, but it’s a simple definition that works.

I can cope with friends, bosses, colleagues who for some reason or other might not be there for me. After all, your hell may be their hell too. This happens all the time to me, and I can honestly say I feel a sense of trust – still – for those friends. Because I know that they have some humanity, and that’s what matters. All else is simply the day to day skirmishing – and that counts for almost nothing.

Where my skin crawls, and my sense of trust dries up, is where I have to deal with what Bob Sutton refers to as certified assholes. A recent post of mine listed some warning signs of a bad manager – things like always seeming to have a hidden agenda, never sharing anything about yourself, being convinced that you’re surrounded by idiots, don’t seem to care about what’s important to others. I’ve met some very dark people in my past and these things flow through their personalities.

So, my approach to trust is a little different to the textbooks. Sometimes good people do some shoddy things and I can roll with those punches. Life can be a little rugged.

But I think I have looked into the face of pure evil before, that’s where my willingness to trust stops short.

4 thoughts on “Trust means you’re not an asshole

  1. I love your definition. It is one that cuts to the chase and keeps everything clearly in perspective. I will be using this going forward. BTW: A number of my FB buddies loved your thoughts on the subject as well.

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