Back in the days when we were kids, we watched (or read
) the Jungle Book
and saw Kaa
, the sneaky snake, serenade the little man-cub Mowgli on trust and draw him into his snare. But how did we know that Kaa was untrustworthy*?
His statements were good but we didn’t believe that he meant them in a trust-worthy manner (*TBH the googly eyes were a good tip-off).
Trust is at the center and core of strong relationships. Often times trust seems like something we sense rather than can explicitly describe. Which is why I would like to do a little analogy for trust exercise with you.
- Take a new sheet of paper. This paper represents the basis for a new relationship / friendship or negotiations. What does it look like? It is blank.
- Until we write on it those little moments that build-up our trust and confidence in one another. So do that now: write a few of the things that are the key essentials for you in building up trust in someone else - and the things you do that build trust for others.
- Ok now answer: what would be a major trust-breaking infraction in a relationship for you? It could be a slip of the tongue, going behind the back to negotiate a different deal, taking credit for shared work, not answering a DM, postponing a career discussion: whatever it is for you.
- Now depending on the severity, crumple the paper up according to how bad you think the damage to your relationship would be.
- What does the paper look like now?
- What would it take to flatten that sheet of paper back out?
- What tell-tale signs would be left behind?
I was teaching a facilitator training and one of the participants used that exercise - and moved the whole room. To date, I think it is the best representation of the implicit and personal nature that building-up a trust relationship is, how precarious a slight can be and how conscious the process of building trust back up truly is.
To quote Zig Ziglar “If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”
Trust is paramount to teams doing deep work and collaborating, for creating social change, to employee engagement, to respecting (and buying into) companies brands
, and for successful relationships.
So what is trust?
Boundaries | You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask. You’re willing to say no.
Reliability | You do what you say you’ll do. At work, this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don’t over promise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.
Accountability | You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends.
Vault | You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. Ineed to know that my confidences are kept, and that you’re not sharing with me any information about other people that should be confidential.
Integrity | You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.
Nonjudgment | I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment.
Generosity | You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.
What impact does trust braving have?
Quite a considerable one as I am sure that Mowgli, Kaa and a few researchers can tell you.