How Easily Do You Trust?

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 “trust 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 in 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. These two scenarios present entirely different dynamics between colleagues, and can have a big impact on the overall team or organization. For example, if the team is in a crisis mode, and needs to operate at a high level, quickly, we should probably think twice before we employ the “you are on probation until further notice” mode. The team needs to be functioning well, quickly.

The point here is simple… be intentional about the way you show up every day, especially when a new team is forming, or when you are joining an organization. Each of us contributes mightily towards the overall substance of the team or organization. So, how will you show up? Think about it, make a choice, and be intentional.

As you think about your own choice, here is a little bit about the way I choose to show up. I prefer to default towards leading with trust. I like to show respect right away, and treat colleagues like professionals. In other words, I don’t lead with probation. I lead with a big deposit in the “trust bank account.” Now, if they do something to legitimately to break that trust, OK. Then we make an adjustment and I’ll be less likely to trust the next time. But I find it more helpful, and more satisfying, to lead with trust and respect. You have to do something tangible to lose it. That’s my default.

Is my way the correct way? No, and I am not advocating for this approach. Just sharing. Most of the time it works for me. But on occasion I have gotten burned, sometimes badly. But that’s still how I choose to show up. The pros outweigh the cons, for me.

You do you… make your own choice. But make a choice. Be intentional about how you show up. And know that there are implications with each choice. That’s my advice.

Good luck, and have a great day.

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Corporation’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.