Most of us have devoted a great deal of time, energy and money in acquiring and maintaining a high degree of competence to
practice veterinary medicine. But, what about our ethical character? How can each of us build and maintain this aspect of
Please consider the following 10 principles.
1. Because trust is based on truth, trustworthy people must be truthful.
Trustworthy people know that it's not enough to possess a truth; the truth must possess them. What is a common result when
we learn that someone has lied to us? Whatever he or she says after that may be suspected of being false, however true it
may be. Likewise, lies defended as white cannot always be easily dismissed. What we perceive as harmless or even beneficial
may not be so in the eyes of the deceived.
2. Trustworthy people are honest.
They match their words and feelings with their thoughts and actions. They do not think one thing and speak another. When we
bad mouth people behind their back and sweet-talk them to their face, we undermine trust. Trustworthy people do not take what
belongs to others, whether it is ideas, statements, credit or possessions, without their permission. They share successes
by giving credit where credit is due. In addition to being honest themselves, trustworthy people strive to keep their associates
honest by communication and constructive dialogue.
3. Trustworthy people are reliable; they keep their promises.
Their "yes" means yes, and their "no" means no. They honor their commitments. This includes keeping appointments, whether
they are with clients, colleagues, sales personnel or family members. Few things inspire trust in another sooner than punctuality.
You might as well steal another's money as their time.
4. Trustworthy people are loyal.
They try to be especially loyal to those who are not present. By defending those who are absent, we retain and build the trust
of those who are present. Trustworthy people know that to repeat unkind gossip about others is a divisive way of praising
one's self. Therefore, they are careful not to repeat gossip, unless they have a sound basis for considering it to be true
5. Trustworthy people are not biased or prejudiced.
They strive to attribute good motives to the actions of other people. We are all prone to being too quick to censure others,
when we will not endure advice ourselves. Being quick to question the motives of others is not a sign of trust. We usually
give ourselves credit for having good motives for what we say and do. Shouldn't we do the same for others?
6. Trustworthy people are humble, recognizing that the truth may not always be with them.
They interact with others on the assumption that they do not have all the answers and all the insights. They don't have a
superior attitude. They value the viewpoints, judgments and experiences of others. Therefore, trustworthy people try to understand
others' viewpoints, while maintaining their own commitment to proper values and principles. Having the inner strength to be
humble, especially during times of provocation, is often the difference between those who command, and those who demand respect.
Likewise, having a humble demeanor protects a counselor from making damaging remarks and errors, and thereby makes advice
easier to accept.
7. Trustworthy people are accountable.
They try to recognize, admit and accept responsibility for their own mistakes. If they say things they didn't intend to say,
especially under times of stress, they are quick to apologize. They recognize that anger often gets them into trouble, but
it is pride that keeps them there.
Trustworthy people are cooperative.