Most of us want to trust other people, yet few people agree on how to build this feeling mutually. During conversations in professional development sessions, I have heard remarks that seem to suggest the process of trust should be considered like innocence and guilt in our justice system: “Trusted until proven untrustworthy” or “Not trusted until proven trustworthy.”
Contrary to these views, trust is harder won. The potential for trust begins to grow at the moment of meeting. As we work together, each subsequent interaction builds upon countless acts of attending, noticing, sharing, observing, and discovery. As we learn about the other person, reasons for our working together are crystallized. A project that calls out for both our skill sets suddenly seems do-able, in light of our combined strengths.
Trust is the core ingredient in collaboration, and successful collaborating partners grow their unique type of trust that brings out the best in each toward their shared pursuits. Achievements by strong, capable partners are among the most rewarding in human life. Few collaborators would argue against the powerful value of a carefully constructed and lifelong trust.
As a rule, demonstrating trustworthy behavior stimulates in-kind response from others. We need to invest in our partners and discover reasons for our working together. Our ability to relate thus gains context that helps us craft ways of relating. As we learn to do this effectively, we can apply the following elements:
- Practice appreciation by looking for and feeling positive elements about the other person. While many of us have been taught to stay neutral, such neutrality fails to feed energy to the other person. During the early stages of interacting, your looking for what is positive and valuable changes the chemistry of the relationship.
- Help the other person feel valuable. Invest in possibility as you respond to what s/he shares. Ask questions without being intrusive. Foster the chance to give away the limelight.
- Find ways to connect your own values to the other person’s input, ideas, and positive aspects you’ve observed, and let the conversation build from there. The energizing effect this can have on a conversation may surprise you.
At its best, trust is a powerful, earned designation that signals mutual understanding, creates a unity that typically begins with hope and willingness to build, then over time arrives at a profound level of mutual respect and engagement.
Trusting other people occurs by stepping up to establish trust by having the courage to be appreciative, generous, and authentic. The greater that trust, the more useful each person’s work becomes.
© 2016 Work. Transformed.