If you were to ask me what my greatest learning journey so far has been, I’d say parenting without a doubt. Every day is a new lesson in being aware, leading, listening, observing and so on. I like to maintain a journal of my conversations with my kids. And yesterday I had a pretty interesting one with my 10 year old. While we were generally sifting through some of his books, I told him that I’d like to share something with him but that it was very confidential and not meant to be shared with anyone (including his little bro who he is very thick with!). Obviously, his curiosity was piqued and he immediately asked me to share.. I did and when he heard what I had shared, he understood the nature of the confidentiality. He asked me why I had shared it with him and not anyone else and I just said that I trusted him. He didn’t say anything for a while. But in some time he shared something with me about his friends which was ‘highly confidential’ in his gang. I asked him why he had shared this with me and he gave me the same smile and said ‘I trust you too’.
I immediately thought of my work context, about the number of times I had shied away from trusting a team member and thought I had de-risked some part of my process or business and lost nothing in the process. As I thought about it, I realised that in the process of not being trusting, I had lost an opportunity to become trustworthy myself.
I also thought about the times when I had trusted someone and realised that it had started with them trusting me first. As they shared information, responsibilities, decision making authority with me, I trusted them back. Building trust is a two way street and step one begins with us.
I read a lot about trust – trust equation, speed of trust, trust models etc and they do spin out some interesting tips about trust building – taking specific actions to build credibility, reliability, rapport etc. They are all relevant once the first step to trust building has been taken care of.
If I were to summarise the very essence of what builds trust, I guess I would say ‘trust builds more trust’. Be trusting and you would surely become trustworthy.