I was delivering a program on Trust and Team Engagement recently - as part of a Leadership Development program for a client. The topic was Trust and building - why trust is important, how to build trust and using trust to engage teams. In any relationship, the foundation components are trust, respect and shared purpose. Trust, at its most basic, is about credibility, reliability and intimacy (aka EQ or emotional quotient.) It is the connective bond created by two or more people that lives in both logical construct and powerful emotions. Having someone that you rely on, someone that is credible and that someone that has your back - can change the way you experience the world. In a professional sense, it is critical to how you experience what you do every day and can make or break whether you stay or go at your company.
Trust in a personal relationship and a professional one is different. Or is it? In the personal relationship, trust is built over time via dependability which comes with transparency, consistency and integrity. The more the other person brings you in, the more often they do what they say they will do - the connection builds and you become comfortable and safe. You become more invested in the other person because you believe, from your experience, that you can rely on them. Just because you walk into a corporate environment, does this change? In the professional realm, the results of that comfort becomes a wider investment - you not only invest more in the job itself, but you often become more invested in the team and the company. For many companies, trust is an important value but an elusive attribute within their culture. It can be built or nurtured and either way you need to go, it takes effort and consistent focus.
Trust also comes with the connection - helping the other person discover things in their journey, not taking the journey for them. We travel paths with people, and often times, we help them make choices about their steps. Sometimes, we can even help get them there, but in the healthy relationships, we don't tell them where to go. Managers who can help their teams to discover things on their own, consistently, will build trust both individually and collectively. Each person has their own way, and because we are all individuals, when things come from within us, they are uniquely ours. We own them. Coaching someone to think about situations and think through solutions can help them lead themselves to the right path. Doing this consistently - all in the spirit of helping them find the best version of themselves - builds trust. Staying in relationship with them isn't about being right or telling them what the right path is. Building trust, respect and shared purpose helps them find it, own it and take it.