We’ll start from the factor that generally help building trust or things that can influence it.
- Age. A person who is of the same age as you or a little older automatically becomes closer to you than someone who is much younger or older.
- Like-mindedness. We trust a person more if his or her life views are very similar to ours. When you are discussing any sort of problem you have a higher probability to like someone who took the same stance as you. It can sometimes become a problem as we tend to trust such people even in areas where they are not experts or may have different views.
- Similarity in terms of career pathways. For example, you will have more trust in a person who graduated from the same university and with the same specialization as you than in someone that studied at another university. You may not even know what grade he or she had, you still trust such colleagues.
- Likeness in appearance. In this case, the likeness in appearance triggers the identification mechanism “friend or foe” which is genetically present in human beings since times when members of one tribe looked very similar and members of a different tribe were perceived as foes.
- Work experience or competence. We tend to believe people who are experts in their field. For example, without knowing much about car construction, we would rather listen to a mechanic (as far as it concerns a possible defect) than to a person who is not a car expert. Remember the phrase “sofa experts.” Yes, yes. We use this phrase to refer to those people who are trying to tell and prove something to us, without having relevant competences. And again, a problem may arise when we are inclined to believe people in some other field where they do not have that much expertise. This might be an issue, and certain manipulations are base on it, for example in advertising. We are shown some famous athlete saying “This deodorant is the best,” and we’re going to buy it. But if you think twice, you’ll wonder why this deodorant should be the best. Just because it is promoted by a famous athlete?
- The capability of making right decisions. The most ambiguous point goes last. This capability is difficult to describe in a couple of words. First, there are no unambiguously right and wrong decisions. Only history and people who evaluate that history can tell whether a decision was right or wrong. Second, it’s not a capability as such. It comprises a set of skills: Strategic thinking, knowledge, abilities and experience (or “competence” in other words), some Soft Skills which will help you to properly describe the decision to potential listeners. Usually, experienced managers possess that skill in one form or another - people who have various projects in their portfolio, both successful and completely failed.
All these factors work in combination. In other words, one cannot say that you will automatically have more trust in a person who is a bit older than you or is an expert in your field. Of course not. Moreover, everybody has their own life experience which impacts our attitude.