In ‘Trust Part 1’ I looked at what it was that we trust, that when somebody ‘betrays your trust’ what they’re doing is displaying an aspect of themselves that you were previously not aware of. So they are asking you to change your assumptions about who they are and how you relate to them.
What I trust is the story I tell myself about another. Is this based on my experience? How does my trust change when other people tell me things about another person – even if I haven’t experienced that myself?
Think about someone who has ‘let you down’ or you feel has ‘betrayed your trust’ in some way. How have your assumptions about them changed from before the incident to after it?
On the other hand, when someone does something that improves your ability to trust them. What did they do? How did your assumptions change?
What is it about them that make me trust or distrust? What is it that makes me want to follow someone? What is it about them that makes me want to lead them?
There are many books on trust, of course. I particularly like Richard barrett’s work (see below) and Charles Feltman’s “The Thin Book of Trust “. Pulling the many strands together in the simplest way, I came to the following four essential aspects for creating and repairing Trust
Authenticity is the first – being myself, being sincere and balanced, with respect for others and the ability to access and maintain an ‘adult-to-adult’ space within, from with to connect with others. ‘Walking your talk’ is essential here … and I need others to tell me if I do …
How authentic I am determines how consistent I am. Do I do what I say I am going to do when I’ve said that I’m going to do it? Can you trust that if you delegate something to me, that it will be done, and it will be done on time? Do you have confidence in me?
The next is competency. Do you know that I can do it? Have I got the right qualifications – am I clever/experienced enough? Do you know that when I present you with a set of numbers, you don’t have to go and check them every time? Do you have a real sense of my competency – that you can trust that what I do is what should be done and is the right thing to do?
The fourth quality is caring. It’s very important – if I think about those people that I really admire and follow, I have a sense that they see me, they connect with me. And here, I’m back to the ACT of leadership – Awareness, Connection and Transformation. The quality of relationship. For you to trust me you need to know that I see you, I understand you, I get you – and that I understand your relationship to what I’m asking you to do.
So those four qualities – authenticity, consistency, competency and caring – how do I do that?
When I’m leading authentically – when I’m leading with energy and connection and presence – I’m living what I believe to be true. I am being myself.
When I’m present, aware of and connected with myself, then, I can trust myself. And when I trust myself, others can sense it, and that enables them to trust me …
So Trust is an aspect of Being, just as Leadership is an aspect of Being.
For more on Richard Barrett’s work on the values that underlie trust, see his blog: http://www.valuescentre.com/leadership/?sec=building_internal_cohesion.