Trust – An Interdependent Commodity of Progress
‘Successful organisations are no longer built on force but on trust. The existence of trust between people does not necessarily mean they like one another. It means that they understand one another. Taking responsibility for the relationship is therefore an absolute necessity. It is a duty.’ (Peter Drucker)
Everyone goes on about trust, but the dictionary definition is paltry (Noun; firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something).
Here is what I have learnt about trust – having spent a lifetime trusting some , not others or myself, being burnt and burning others.
How trustworthy are you? What does it mean when we say we can be trusted?
In any situation, your influence is enormous if you are trusted. But if you are not trusted, it doesn’t matter what your title is or how much authority you are supposed to have, your influence is virtually zero.
When you are trusted, it means that you can be relied on. To do what? The right thing, whatever that may be. You build trust by sharing information that is timely, accurate, objective and complete. You build trust by keeping your word, doing what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. How can you trust anyone who is mostly talk and no action?
Trust is fragile, too. It must be earned, and re-earned. Even small omissions or errors can damage it quickly. If you are trustworthy, it says a lot about your character. It means you have integrity – that your words and your behaviour are aligned, and you stand up for what you believe in.
If you make a mistake, you don’t cover it up or try to make it look like someone else’s fault, even if it could make you look bad. And when you make decisions, you make them after thoughtfully considering alternatives and consequences. When you are trusted, other people listen to you, ask for your advice, and feel confident that you can be relied on. When you are worthy of that trust, you feel accountable to use your influence responsibly.
A relationship of genuine trust is ever evolving and needs constant care and maintenance – the responsibility is yours.
“He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted” Lao Tzu
It’s not all that hard to understand the point even if it seems a bit counter-intuitive. If you don’t trust people around you, it’s hard to imagine other people will fully trust you in return. This is more of a general principle rather than strict rule. It doesn’t mean you should put trust in everybody but understand the human nature and critical importance of mutual trust.
Everyone is dependent on someone else. Everything is dependent on another thing for its existence. If we do not relax to this principle of reciprocal maintenance and duty, we fail our leadership role – either by trying to take on things for others that they need to learn themselves or by perpetuating the underlying conversation that we are better than they are.
We don’t delegate because the ‘other’ won’t do as good a job as us. Correct. They are our pupil because we have the greater experience and knowledge. The pupil can’t become the master if opportunity is absent.
Trust that they might err, fail or fall over. That is how we acquire mastery. (How do you learn to balance a bicycle? By falling off).