50 Ways to Lose Trust and Credibility

Trust, Ways to lose trust, how to lose trust, losing trust, how to build trust, winning trust

Whether you’re a salesperson, manager, teacher or leader, trust is everything. Here are 50 ways people lose trust and credibility every day.

50 Ways to Lose Trust and Credibility

1.    Act nice only when you need something.
2.    Base decisions on bad or incomplete information.
3.    Fake an answer rather than admitting you don’t know.
4.    Claim to be an expert in everything.
5.    Fail to stand behind your product.
6.    Tell two people two different stories.
7.    Make self-serving recommendations.
8.    Fail to follow up promptly.
9.    Make careless mistakes or errors.
10.    Show lack of care and concern.
11.    Overpromise and underdeliver.
12.    Bury information in the fine print.
13.    Spin the truth.
14.    Adopt a messy physical appearance.
15.    Offer each customer a different price.
16.    Love you before a sale; leave you afterward.
17.    Recommend more than needed.
18.    Show up late or miss deadlines.
19.    Sell what you have –– not what’s needed.
20.    Be inaccessible.
21.    Speak in jargon.
22.    Make excuses rather than accept responsibility.
23.    Fail to fix a problem, promptly.
24.    Disparage the competition or bad-mouth your own organization.
25.    Compromise your principles and values.
26.    Waffle on decisions.
27.    Pass the buck.
28.    Say one thing, do another.
29.    Leave out important details.
30.    Exaggerate or cry wolf.
31.    Fail to present both sides of an issue.
32.    Present boilerplate solutions to unique problems.
33.    Expect others to do what you wouldn’t do.
34.    Show favoritism, strong bias, or prejudice.
35.    Bully someone “smaller” than you.
36.    Let someone learn about a problem through the grapevine.
37.    Accept credit even though it’s undeserved.
38.    Misunderstand the needs of your audience.
39.    Plagiarize.
40.    Fail to answer questions clearly.
41.    Make rules, but don’t follow them.
42.    Cast blame at the first sign of a problem.
43.    Sweep problems under the rug.
44.    Play politics rather than doing what’s right.
45.    Be inconsistent, unreliable, or unpredictable.
46.    Run from tough decisions.
47.    Change the terms of an agreed-upon deal.
48.    Jump to a conclusion before knowing the facts.
49.    Have an ulterior motive.
50.    Hand in unfinished work as complete.

Additional Reading:
The Values on Which Trust Rests
Trust Me: 55 Ways to Build Trust and Credibility
Honesty: The Plain and Simple Truth
A Promise Is a Promise

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Comments

  1. Barbara Kimmel says

    Well done Frank! You pretty much covered all the bases and then some. Any one of these 50 will diminish trust and credibility.

    Barbara Kimmel, Executive Director
    Trust Across America-Trust Around the World

    • Frank Sonnenberg says

      Thanks Barbara

      I’m sure this isn’t an exhaustive list. Unfortunately folks come up with new and creative ways to lose trust and credibility every day :-) Hopefully this list will serve as a reminder.

      Have an awesome day!

      Best,

      Frank

  2. John Gardner says

    As a high school teacher, I have tried to use lots of ways to try to get this message across. Students think I’m ‘corny’ when I post things like the “Golden Rules” or write blog posts like “I want to trust you.”

    John Gardner
    VirtualMusicOffice.com

    • Frank Sonnenberg says

      Hi John

      High school students think grownups are corny no matter what we say. It’s the age, not the topic :-) All kidding aside, you are doing them a tremendous favor by reinforcing the importance of character and personal values. I bet they come back and thank you one day. It’ll serve them very well in the future.

      Have an awesome day!

      Best,

      Frank

  3. Fred Palumbo says

    fantastic list frank. I’m sure we could all add a few. Wish I could blow it up poster size and hang it on my wall!

    fred palumbo
    creative director / copywriter

    • frank Sonnenberg says

      Thanks so much Fred

      I’m happy to resize the poster for you. Please let me know what you need.

      Best,

      Frank

  4. Mark Hill says

    Wow Frank! What a great list of the inner workings of the things that goes on in much of corporate America. I can’t help but think that you didn’t use your imagination to come up with the list. You must have witnessed this all first hand. Your critiquing with pinpoint accuracy, the dark side of human tendencies, is too on spot to have been cleverly thought up. So often, your words written embody the power of experiential knowledge. Thanks for sharing this.

    • frank Sonnenberg says

      It’s funny that you mention this Mark. I usually slave over these posts. In this case, however the ideas came pretty easily. I’ve always been a student of behavior. For example, I find myself watching what salespeople say and do and then mentally gauge their performance. I also enjoy watching debates, speeches and interviews –– trying to determine if they’re credible and trustworthy. So as you say, this poster represents years of observation.

      Have an awesome day!

      Best,

      Frank

  5. Cindy says

    Hi Frank-
    This list was thought provoking in many ways. At first I saw the behavior on many levels (parent, spouse, customer, etc…) then I began to focus on the root of the behavior and it seems to come down to basically one main factor: Selfishness. This behavior is not really learned; otherwise, we wouldn’t notice it in babies! No; instead , quite the opposite is true so “Hats off ” to our teacher commenter for trying to instill the Golden Rule or any other wisdom that could teach an individual to stand outside of himself or herself for a moment to consider the greater good of another. I suppose that it takes a certain level of faith to believe that you reap what you sow !
    Thanks for new food for thought:)

    Cindy

    • frank Sonnenberg says

      Hi Cindy

      I like the way you’re analyzing the list. I’ll make sure to go back and review it from your vantage point. There are many reasons why people do these things …I’m sure selfishness is at the top of the list.

      I agree that John (above) should be commended for reinforcing character and personal values with his students. If we all went out of our way to serve as strong role models the world would be a better place.

      Best,

      Frank

  6. Cindy says

    Frank-
    If I could suggest a new blog writing – it may be exactly that: How does one stay focused on doing the right thing while swimming against the tide? Maybe a top ten list of key elements to motivate one to keep focused through the tough journey! It is so easy to be tempted to compromise when selfish temptations surround and promise to get you to the goal faster, what are key elements to exercise your mind in advance before falling into compromise?
    Just thinking – and knowing you, so far…maybe have already written this piece?

    (Lol! Not trying to work you too hard – so it is acceptable if you don’t care to write this, either:)

    Thanks – Frank!

    Cindy

    • frank Sonnenberg says

      Great suggestion Cindy. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ll add it to my list of topics.

      Have an awesome day!

      Best,

      Frank

    • frank Sonnenberg says

      You’re very kind Augie. Thank you.

      Your note is very meaningful to me. Your book is so good, I read it twice.

      Have an awesome day!

      Best,

      Frank

    • frank Sonnenberg says

      Hi Colleen

      LOL. Yes, this list applies to politicians as well.

      Best,

      Frank

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