I recently saw some live tweets from a meeting regarding the issue of trust. One of the comments shared was that teams are dysfunctional because people haven’t given their trust to the other members of the team. I assume from the comment that the idea is we should give our trust to others unconditionally. Versus having people earn your trust.
I can definitely see the speaker’s point that trust is an important part of the team dynamic. People have to trust each other, for teams to be truly effective. That makes sense.
But I’ve been struggling with the concept of giving trust versus earning trust. I mean trust is a pretty big thing. Like love, respect, admiration, etc. I don’t know that we give those unconditionally. People have to earn them. By their actions and by their words. And, once you earn them…if they’re taken for granted or abused, they might be taken away. As in, losing a person’s respect.
Is it possible this is what really happens: when we meet people it’s not that we give them our unconditional trust…but we don’t distrust them. There’s a difference. Maybe there’s a ‘trust limbo’ where we all reside until a person decides they can unconditionally trust us or they need to distrust us. Just a thought I’m tossing out there.
In spending time thinking about trust, what really resonates with me is the speed for which you can lose both a person’s trust and the probably of regaining it. You can lose a person’s trust in an instant, without warning and sometimes without even doing anything. There are people who have been labeled untrustworthy simply because someone else said so.
And, once a person has the label of being untrustworthy…it’s very difficult, if not virtually impossible, to regain that trust. Given how fast you can lose it and how hard it is to regain it, it takes me back to my original question. Are most people willing to give trust unconditionally?
I believe trust is an important dynamic. And, the search for trust in our personal and professional relationships is leading people to expect more transparency in their interactions. Transparency removes barriers so that trust can be given more freely. And even when I might not like what someone has to say, it’s important for me to know they’re being honest and truthful. Because being truthful leads to unconditional trust.
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