“There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy and civilization throughout the world — one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love. On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. That one thing is trust.” — Stephen M.R. Covey
What is Trust?
Trust is the critical element of a relationship. As Stephen M. R. Covey (the junior) puts it… Lack of trust destroys; Presence of trust creates. My favorite definition of Trust is ‘firm reliance’. As leaders we must ask ourselves – how would I describe the bond between the people I work with and myself? Is it Full of Trust? When I work with others – do we seem to give each other the benefit of the doubt – or is there constant doubt and questioning. Would people say you are credible or question the accuracy of your statements? Do others know we mean what we say, or do others always check for a hidden agenda? When we hit a roadblock in a project, does the team seamlessly adjust to overcome, or does the roadblock stop the team in its track – needing crystal clarity to proceed.
At work, we want relationships where we can firmly rely on each other, so that even when the inevitable problems and issues arise, we can continue to adapt and move forward.
If only Trust were simple – in terms of what creates it and what breaks it down. Trust is multifaceted – there are many reasons that trust is built and many reasons why trust breaks down.
When I think of my relationships – I find the following 5 questions helpful in understanding where trust is strong and where trust needs to be built.
Do we believe each other to be? [Notice – there are two sides in each of these questions!]
- · Sincere – we both mean what we say; There are no hidden agendas between us
- · Competent – we have the skills & motivation to do what we commit to
- · Reliable – our past experience of each other indicates we HAVE done what we said we would do
- · Credible – we substantiate our statements; being clear what is fact, perception and supposition
- · Empathy – we care about each other; trying to deeply understand the other’s point of view and situation
Know How Practice: Apply it to your Own Leadership
1. Think of a person you do not trust at work. Using the 5 questions above, assess where your relationship is not trust-full.
2. What are you doing differently (or extra) to make up for the lack of trust?
3. What might you do to rebuild trust in that area?