Some of us trust our colleagues quickly, and only when a colleague does something to betray that trust do we reduce it or take it away.
Others among us do not trust quickly, and rather make all colleagues earn the trust before we give it.
Which of the above describes you? It’s important because it can have a big impact on what it is like to work with you. Here’s the difference…
If you and I are working together and are getting to know each other, and we make it clear to each other that “we’re teammates now, I trust you, you trust me, let’s work together,” then we can get the working relationship moving in the correct direction, quickly. Sure, we’ll have to continue to get to know each other, some adjustments will need to be made. But if we enter into this starting off in a positive way, and we give each other an initial deposit into the “respect bank account”, the chances are high we will be able to make some good initial progress together and build a strong working relationship.
If, on the other hand, we both keep each other on probation, so to speak, and instead of offering up that initial trust deposit, we instead say to each other “I don’t trust you, you don’t trust me, we’ll each have to earn it from each other,” that sets the relationship off on an entirely different direction. Since we are keeping each other on probation, each of us is less likely to be honest and authentic, and less likely to be creative, take a risk, discuss things openly.
It is an entirely different dynamic between colleagues. And it is something we each should think about. I like to default towards the former… I like to treat people well, and show them respect and give them some trust right away. Treat them like professionals. If they do something to legitimately lose it, OK. Then we make an adjustment and I’ll be less likely to trust the next time. But the alternative is not attractive.
We write about communication in this blog all the time, all forms and manifestations of it. What kind of teammate are you? How easily do you trust? It is a fundamental question, because people who are welcoming and willing to embrace new colleagues with trust are more likely to engender loyalty and collaboration. Those who lead with distrust, and rely on the “I don’t trust you until you earn it” mantra are simply much harder to work for and with, especially initially.
Take a look in the mirror. How easily do you trust your colleagues?
At The Latimer Group, we believe that successful teams are built on honesty, open communication, and collaboration. For more on team building and team communication, look for Dean Brenner’s book, Sharing the Sandbox: Building and Leading Great Teams in the 21st Century, on sale now.