It’s interesting because trust is one of those words that every leader wants to talk about with their teams but, what does it truly mean and how do you build trust? Well, one of the first places we need to start is with ourselves. You can read books, go to workshops, and participate in learning groups however the easiest way to learn about trust is by allowing yourself to be the compass for trusting others in your life. Don’t get me wrong, there are ways and techniques to achieve learning how to trust but, at times, it is our own experiences that allow us to develop the perfect gauge in understanding trust, and believe me I am no exception.
I experienced learning how to trust, starting with trusting myself, through a real-life experience. You see, I was once hired to work in an organization that I was extremely excited about. It was a higher role in my career and offered me a better financial opportunity. It was an established company that already had a team in place, and I couldn’t wait to get started. I had many ideas and was eager to develop a winning team, however, I was in for a rude awakening. My first couple of days, during my introductory one on one sessions, I quickly became aware that some of my team was not as excited for me to be their leader. I was met with contention and one of my team members even let me know they were expecting to get the job and was not happy with me getting hired. Although, this was not easy to hear, I was determined to give it a chance and received it as a challenge, even though my unconscious was telling me it was a bad idea, and it would hurt in the long run.
After allowing a couple of weeks to pass, my manager and I discussed the status of the team and the potential need to make some changes. Although I had contemplated the idea myself, I wanted to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and told my manager there was no need to make changes at that time, and we would reassess the team later. Time passed. During that time, I tried connecting with the team, had frequent one on ones to ensure they were satisfied and trusted my support, made myself available to assist, was compassionate when they had any personal issues, challenged them to do better, however, in the end nothing worked. Once I started holding them accountable and verifying their performances, I realized, maybe a little too late, that the team was not being honest and truthful. In fact, they had started removing me from conversations with my manager and even told stories that were not factual about some of our encounters. From there everything went downhill, there was not anything I can do or say because it was distorted into something else. That lead to me ultimately not being part of the organization any longer and found myself in unfamiliar territory. I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong with the team and how this could have happened. Nevertheless, after some reflection I realized is that my biggest mistake was that I did not trust myself. I should have trusted the voice inside of me that said, “this is not going to work with this team” and should have taken up my managers offer early on to reassess the team. I am sure the results would have been different if I did but I guess I needed to live that experience to learn this lesson.
Trust affects all our relationships whether personal, professional, spiritual, social, whether with our peers, subordinates, children, parents, significant other, the list is endless. As long as we are living and surrounded by other humans, trust will be at the center of having a successful or unsuccessful relationships. How we manager those relationships of trust is what will allow us to thrive in those relationships. And, yes, there are contractual agreements that allow you to feel a stronger sense of trust with an individual or a company or transaction however at the end there is a percentage of trust or leap of faith that’s put in everything we do on a daily basis. so we should do a more effective job on trusting ourselves before we can trust in others.