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Are You A Trustworthy Manager?

Our teams will better serve stakeholders if they operate in a culture of trustworthiness and integrity.

July 2013 By Wes Friesen
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We face an ongoing challenge to build a trustworthy team that reliably serves our key stakeholders. The starting place is to have the team led by a trustworthy leader—you.

How can we develop a higher level of trustworthiness for ourselves and our teams? Let me share some ideas, largely based on the work of Dr. Robert Hurley, a respected professor, consultant and former manager.

Six Keys to Building Trustworthiness

1. Create similarities. Establish common values and a common identity. Research has shown that we tend to trust people we think are similar to us and share our values. High-trust leaders and high-trust organizations create bonds of trust by developing and gaining commitment to common values and beliefs.

Years ago, my company (Portland General) established a core set of values, which we call "Guiding Behaviors." These shared values have served us well over the years and saw us through challenging times such as the collapse of our one-time parent company, Enron. Here are PGE's Guiding Behaviors:

  • Be Accountable
  • Dignify People
  • Earn Trust
  • Team Behavior
  • Positive Attitude
  • Make the Right Thing Happen

Another tactic to build a common identity is to encourage people on your team to know each other as people, not just as professionals. Look for common experiences and interests that can help build a sense of camaraderie.

2. Align interests with those whose trust you want. It is much easier to trust people that we feel will serve our interests. To build trust, start by clarifying and aligning stakeholder interests and promote those interests in a fair manner.

3. Develop benevolent concern. People tend to trust those who care about their welfare—those who demonstrate a benevolent character. If you want to earn trust, demonstrate that you will do the right things for others even if this puts you at risk. John Maxwell was right on when he said "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

About the Author

Wes Friesen is the manager of Billing, Credit and Special Attention Operations for Portland General Electric. He manages CIS billing, specialized billing, electronic bills and payments, credit and collections and OPUC and special attention operations. Wes and the PGE print and mail team have earned many national awards, such as the IPMA Management Award, four NAPL Gold Awards and numerous PCC awards. Wes received the Franklin Award in 2010 for his contributions to the mail industry. For the past 27 years Wes has been a university instructor and a speaker at conferences. He has written numerous articles for trade journals. Wes earned a B.S. in Business Administration from George Fox University and an MBA from the University of Portland. He can be contacted at






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