The Six Faces of Trust

Enjoy our guest blog on The Six Faces of Trust by our US business associate Next Element with whom we have the pleasure of working together on international projects to serve our global clients.  A translation in German will follow in the coming week.


  • Männchen mit TRUSTAre you trustworthy?
  • Are you effectively earning the trust of your colleagues, family, or constituency?
  • What does trust even mean?

Trust is experienced uniquely by different personality types. This has implications for how you interact with others, communicate, set up meetings, make decisions, manage your professional reputation, and how we set up our learning and work environments.

One of the most dangerous things we can do is to project our definition of trust onto others by applying the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

We earn trust by our intentions, how we manifest those intentions, and the way in which we go about it. Your noble intention means little if it’s conveyed in a way that others can’t “hear” or resonate with it.

The Process Communication Model® (PCM, Kahler Communications Inc.) identifies six distinct personality types, each with unique perceptual filters that determine what trust means for them. Here are tips for earning trust with each personality type in your world:

Thinkers are logical, organized, and responsible. They experience the world through thoughts, and prize data and information. Earn their trust by providing them with plenty of data, time frames, and an outline of what you plan to do. Follow through on what you say you will do, and keep them apprised of pertinent information. They want to know if they can count on you to execute important steps in a timely manner.

Persisters are dedicated, conscientious, and observant. They experience the world through beliefs, and prize loyalty and commitment. Earn their trust by asking for their opinions, hearing their vision and sharing yours, and demonstrating your loyalty to the bigger picture. They want to know that you will follow through on your promises and commitments.

Harmonizers are compassionate, sensitive, and warm. They experience the world through their emotions, and prize family and friendship. Earn their trust by listening to their feelings, showing you caring about them as a person, and avoiding judgment. They want to know you like them for who they are and will support them emotionally when it matters.

Rebels are spontaneous, creative, and playful. They experience the world through their reactions (likes and dislikes), and prize spontaneity and creativity. Earn their trust by being open to new ideas, encouraging trial and error, and avoid micromanaging or preaching at them about what they should or shouldn’t do. They want to know you accept them the way they are and that you will give them an open space to experiment and create.

Imaginers are reflective, imaginative, and calm. They experience the world through their reflections and imagination, and prize privacy and their own space. Earn their trust by telling them exactly what you want them to do, and leaving them alone to do it. They want to know that you won’t expect them to socialize with the Harmonizers or brainstorm with the Thinkers and Rebels, and you will give them the space to imagine new possibilities.

Promoters are charming, adaptable and persuasive. They experience the world through action, and prize self-sufficiency and adaptability. Earn their trust by cutting to the chase, focusing on immediate action, and giving them mission-critical tasks. They want to know you can keep things moving and avoid getting bogged down in details.

If you want to earn trust, move beyond yourself and your own definitions. If your goal is to be trustworthy for the important people in your life, adapt your behavior and delivery so they appreciate your good intentions.

Trust begins with communication. To learn more about communicating with different personality types, we invite you to attend one of our seminars, visit our website, or drop us a line.

Next seminars in Switzerland and Germany:

* Image credit & Royalties: Photographer Corina Ruso

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