The Secrets to Building Trust in a Mastermind Group

Aaron Walker
Oct 30, 2021
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Many different components go into running a successful mastermind group, but trust has to rank as the highest on the list. Trust forms the basis of authentic communication and relationship building. Without it, we have nothing.


As a mastermind leader, the onus falls on you to build trust with and between your members. However, we have many myths about trust running rampant in our culture. 


Perhaps the most misguided myth is that trust takes a long time to earn. While this certainly can be true in some cases, it isn’t true if you have the tools and mindsets at your disposal to inspire trust in others. I’ll detail some of these tools as well as some general principles that will help take your mastermind group to the next level.


The first step in building trust with others is to establish self-trust. Trusting yourself means having the integrity to “walk your talk” and stand behind your principles. To develop self-trust, you must be honest, meaning that you always tell the truth and leave the right impressions. As Tony Dungy says, “Integrity is the difference between doing what’s convenient and doing what’s right.”


Self-Trust and Congruence


You must also embrace the principle of congruence, meaning you live according to your values and beliefs. To put it simply, being congruent means that you aren’t a hypocrite. Hypocritical behavior, such as professing values that you don’t embody, or not practicing what you preach, is the most efficient way to lose trust. 


If the concepts of self-trust and congruence sound familiar, that’s because it was discussed in Stephen M.R. Covey’s book The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything


Conversely, when others can see that your external behaviors are aligned with your values, they will be more inclined to trust you. Consistent behavior will also help in building trusting relationships.


Trust can also be built on the organizational level. Organizational trust is built through what Covey calls alignment. Alignment refers to a group’s ability to align their collective values with their actions. Obviously, this concept is particularly important for mastermind leaders.


Organizational trust leads to market trust, which refers to a group’s reputation, and to societal trust. Societal trust is based on individuals’ ability to make contributions to causes outside of themselves. Selfless altruism and acts of kindness are some of the fastest ways to build trust with others and the community at large. 


Check out The Mastermind Playbook for more on the fundamentals of building trust in an organization or mastermind group. 


Societal Trust


Societal trust is an issue that Covey highlights extensively in the book because, as he explains, our culture is currently undergoing a crisis of trust. If you look around yourself today, people have historically low levels of trust between other people and in institutions. 


Research shows that trust in mainstream media, government, and members of opposing political parties is lower than it ever has been. Even if you look at businesses, Covey points out that only 51% of employees have trust in senior management, and over the past 12 months, 76% of employees report they have witnessed illegal or unethical behavior. 


Perhaps even more problematically, this historic distrust of institutions isn’t entirely unearned. Our culture has lost its moral compass and integrity, leading the public to lose trust in leadership. In order to regain societal trust, we must all implement the principles of congruence, integrity, and alignment. 


As a mastermind leader, you can play a part in this larger mission by creating a deeply trusting and honest community of mastermind members. 


Check out The Mastermind Playbook for more tips to foster trust between mastermind members. 


The Power of Intent


Another key to fostering trust in a mastermind group is to pay attention to your intent. As the mastermind leader, you should always ponder and declare your intentions. You must be reflective of your motives, and take an honest look at your behavioral motivations.


Clarifying your intentions so that you understand them yourself and can declare them to others is a vital part of building trust. You should also encourage your mastermind members to analyze the intentions behind their own actions and be open about that in the group. As much as possible, you should encourage your members to adopt an abundance mindset and explore win-win scenarios in their lives whenever possible.


After getting an idea of the intentions guiding your behavior, assess whether those intentions are aligned with your core capabilities. Covey describes capability as a term that includes your talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge, and styles. 


Think of your talents as your natural gifts or strengths. You should have an honest period of introspection in which you assess if your intentions and actions are in line with your natural talents. Asking your mastermind members if their life decisions are letting them make use of their natural talents can be a powerful question. 


Aligning your intentions with your talents, skills, knowledge, and attitudes will make you more trustworthy, and the same is true for your mastermind members.


What steps do you need to take to establish self-trust this week? Do your mastermind members trust you? Do they trust each other? Make a plan to grow in at least one of these areas in the days ahead. Here’s wishing you a consistently trusting mastermind environment, one that can impact the market and society outside of it!


Check out The Mastermind Playbook for more perspectives on the power of intent for mastermind leaders. 

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