What is Trust?
The Oxford Dictionary defines trust as “a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something” For example, we trust people who are benevolent toward us, who have integrity, and whose actions correspond to their words. We trust someone we can count on to consistently do what is “right.” In an intimate relationship, we trust our partner if he or she is predictable, reliable, and honest.
Trust can also be defined as a verb: as actions based on having confidence or trust in oneself. On an action level, trust involves being able to “do something without fear or misgiving.”
A lot of people have a hard time trusting other people can do the job properly or they don’t trust enough to give autonomy to people to lead a team. In organizations the tone of trust is set by leaders. When leaders create a place that is consistent and nonthreatening, allowing for feedback and appreciation, they begin creating a trust building relationship by putting their people first to feel safe.
To sum up organizational trust drives employee engagement and organizational results.
My Trust Story
I had a real hard time trusting people and it affected my behaviors towards them. For me, lack of trust in others began when I was three years old when my dad suddenly died of a heart attack. Two years later my grandfather, who took the role of my father, passed away from a heart attack. At 35 my cousin, who was like a brother to me died in a car accident.
The result of these traumatic events shaped my perception of life and the people around me. It creeped into my business life without me knowing it. I had a real hard time trusting my teams could do the job right at work. I wasn’t open to listening to feedback from employees, my friends, and family because I had built a fortress around me to make sure I was safe first. Seemed quite natural for my subconscious mind to be doing this after having experienced such traumatic losses in my life. However, by treating everyone like I didn’t trust them, I negatively impacted my relationships by causing unnecessary conflict.
Trust is an issue everywhere because people don’t communicate and don’t get to really know one another. Trust requires being vulnerable, dropping your armor and being courageous enough to listen to others even when it’s an opposing opinion. It’s also being vulnerable to the point you can listen for feedback from others and be honest with the people on your team.
As leaders we are always looking for ways to improve our teams. Telling them what needs to be done to improve their performance levels. But what if for a moment we looked at ways of improving our leadership? Would that create a positive environment for trust? Most definitely it does, and studies have proved it.
Trust is a two-way street and it must be demonstrated day in and day out. Trusting others when we’ve been hurt is difficult. Being vulnerable is scary. Tell your team about one thing you need their help with and discover who steps up. It takes time, evidence, and results to grow in trust, however, the first step towards better relationships with people is you being vulnerable enough to take the risk to trust them in the first place.