If you ask business people for the magic ingredient they allows teams and organisations generally to perform excellently, you will often get a one -word answer: “trust”. Without trust, expensive controls are needed to check on staff, information does not flow freely and motivation is lower. With trust, people have the freedom to fulfil their roles and to provide the cooperation and support to enable others to reach their goals, too.
What is the trust? This question is not as simple to answer as you might think. First, we need to remember that trust is not optional. Trust is mandatory for one simple reason: we cannot do everything ourselves. I can’t fly by plane , so I have to trust others to do this. I can’t configure my computer, so I need to trust IT department to do it.
In other words, trust is the form of dependence. It means believing in other people and having the confidence that they will meet our expectations: drive our new car carefully, deliver a work report on time, etc.
A second key point is that there are different types of trust, involving a range of emotional and intellectual levels. The relationship-based trust we have in family members or parents is very different to the professional trust we might have in colleagues. Trust is also situational. We might trust a particular person in one situation but not in another. For example: I might trust you to stand in for me in a meeting, but not to drive my brand new car.
Building trust at work. What does it means for building trust at work? What factors make us have faith in some and not others? If we understand these factors, we may be able to accelerate the process of building trust and improve our level of performance more quickly. Here, we look at seven factors that can support the development of trust. People trust those:
Who are competent. We are unlikely to trust others unless we believe they have the necessary skills. This estimation of competence is sometimes based on relatively superficial factors. At work, a particular title or job function may be enough. But for our faith in others to continue over time, we normally need proof that someone has the relevant competence and the necessary judgment to use it properly. Trust has to be earned.
With integrity. We generally respect and trust those who are honest, who keep their promises and who we think act according to a just moral code. We also trust those who are team-oriented, rather than those who are self-centred or seen to be playing political games to further their careers.
Who are predictable. Trusting others, or getting others to trust us, is almost impossible if people are unpredictable in their behaviour. And people’s ability to predict confidently your behavior comes from experience. For example, if they see you park a car successfully thousand times, they would not hesitate to give you the keys of their brand-new car. Make yourself predictable and, therefore , to be trusted.
Who trust them. Trust creates trust. If we want people to trust us, it helps if they believe that we trust them first. In other words, one of the best ways to develop trust in a team is to show trust in others , even before you really have enough information to do so. This can be risky, of course. People may let you down. But “risking trust” can actually accelerate the process of building trust in the team.
By talking about trust in your team, it is possible to achieve not only better relationships but also better performance. And this will mean a competitive advantage for your organization.