To trust, look in the mirror…

“Trust is earned in the smallest of moments. It is earned not through heroic deeds, or even highly visible actions, but through paying attention, listening, and gestures of genuine care and connection.”

Brene Brown

Trust is a gift. If you want to give that gift to others, and have them trust you in turn, you must first pay attention to oneself. Are you showing genuine care and connection for others? Are you listening? Are you paying attention? Are you looking for reasons to trust someone, or reasons not to trust?

Trust is a mirror and you can only see one thing when you look in the mirror. Yourself…

More than a job…

“Leadership contains certain elements of good management, but it requires that you inspire, that you build durable trust. For an organization to be not just good but to win, leadership means evoking participation larger than the job description, commitment deeper than any job contract’s wording.”

Stanley A. McChrystal

Who are the leaders that have inspired you to go further than the description or the definition of what is required from your role? The best leaders I have ever worked with are exceptional at inspiring because they were incredible at building trust. I knew that they had my back no matter what and were genuinely interested in me as both an employee and a person. Once you have experienced that type of leadership, nothing else quite measures up…

Trust empowers growth…

“Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.” 

Booker T. Washington

WIth trust comes freedom. Freedom to act, to think, to stretch beyond where you are today and embrace what could be. Sharing with someone else that you trust them empowers them to grow. On the flip side, demonstrating that you don’t trust someone steals that opportunity from them.

How do you ensure that you convey trust through your words and behaviors?

Integrity fuels trust…

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”

Oprah Winfrey

Trust is what makes real relationships with other people work. It is the foundational platform for any relationship. Without trust nothing else works. Trust is based on integrity. Integrity is internal to a person. It is how they show up and act. It is their own personal moral or ethical code. It manifests and conveys in a myriad of ways. For example, I have known people that lie to others and I can never fully trust them because I know that if they lie to someone else, they will lie to me. They will say they are “white lies” but a mistruth is still a lie.

It can heartbreaking to find out that someone you know and respect lacks integrity. It is especially tough because without integrity there can’t be trust. Doing the right thing, means knowing and doing it, even if it has negative consequences for yourself. Frankly, that can build trust with others that share your same ethical and moral code.

Turning this thinking inward, what are the little things that you do that demonstrate your personal beliefs and ethics? How do you demonstrate that you desire to live a life of integrity? What does “doing the right thing” mean to you?

Building trust starts with you…

“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk.”

Thomas Moore

Openness implies vulnerability.  To make oneself vulnerable to another person means that you are choosing to let them have access to stuff that perhaps you don’t even want to admit to yourself.  But how do you grow if you don’t open yourself to others?  How do you ensure that you have real perspective if you don’t have people who are willing to call you out when needed?

The old paradigm of leadership said that the leader had to be bulletproof.  They can not show any vulnerability to those who worked for him or her.  But if you aren’t vulnerable you aren’t building trust.  I’d argue the exact opposite is true to be an effective servant of others.  Be vulnerable.  Show those that you that you work for and have the privilege to serve, that you trust them by being open and real.  In turn you are making it safe for them to do the same.  That’s how trust is built.  

Easier said than done of course.  But it starts small with one person and with a single conversation.  Think about it this way.  What kind of relationships do you want to have developed and fostered five years from now?  Those built on openness and trust or those that maintain the status quo?  

 

 

What are you afraid of?

“Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”

Patrick Lencioni

Merriam-Webster defines “invulnerable” as “impossible to harm, damage or defeat.”  We are taught at a young age that we have to be tough, that we have to win, that showing any vulnerability is a sign of weakness and frailty.  So we carry that defensive nature into our lives and relationships, both at work and at home.  Instead of accepting that we are all vulnerable we seek to be invulnerable with those around us.  

Perhaps this is changing?  The usage of the word “vulnerable” has certainly become more prevalent over the past few decades. Not bad for a word that has it’s root origination in the Latin noun “vulnus” meaning “wound.”  (Finally all my college Latin courses are paying off!!)

 

vulnerable

Usage of “vulnerable”

 

But lets contrast “invulnerability” with “trust” which is defined as “allow someone to have, use, or look after (someone or something of importance or value) with confidence.” 

How do you know when you trust someone?  What does it feel like? For me it is the feeling of safety.  That it is okay if I’m not perfect and it is safe to expose my vulnerabilities for the purpose of achieving a greater good.  When I trust my teammates I am confident that they care, first and foremost, about achieving our shared goals and purpose.

Hmm, now that I think about it maybe “invulnerability” isn’t such a bad thing.  If a team has a high degree of trust with each other I think they just might be a team that is “impossible to harm, damage or defeat…”  

 

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