The term “trust” gets thrown around a lot in leadership circles.
On the one hand, this is great: leaders seem to understand that it’s crucial for building strong and resilient organizations.
On the other hand, however, only few leaders understand how trust actually works.
This explains why trust is still a rare sight in most teams. Because how could leaders foster and grow something they don’t fully understand!?
I can offer two different perspectives to make clear why trust is so important for an organization:
Trust, as I hope has become obvious, is crucial for building strong organizations.
It’s not the “cherry on top”.
It’s a core requirement for success.
Commitment, community, feedback, psychological safety… these are all great reasons why we should develop trust in our teams.
But I’d like to go further and make the benefits of trust more tangible: what’s really in it for you and your team?!
The first thing to realize is that it has benefits on multiple levels (or: for multiple people). Because very often, we only see the benefits for the person receiving it. That person, most importantly, gains freedom to act and make decisions. This is vital for staying motivated. (Keep in mind how detrimental the opposite — micromanagement — is for a person’s motivation…)
But there’s also a benefit for the person *giving* their trust. It helps them reduce their own work load, because someone else (the person being trusted) takes something off their plate. This is an equally important effect, especially in times where leaders are stressed up to their eyebrows…
It’s helpful to keep in mind that we can only ever be in one of two states: either with trust… or without trust! Here’s what each of these states look like:
This comparison is a great reminder: that choosing trust comes with benefits; and that neglecting it comes with a price!
In many organizations, you can see that all parties wait for trust to “just happen”.
Because everyone wants to be the *receiver* of trust.
But this is not how it works.
Trust doesn’t just emerge out of thin air.
It is reciprocated — which means it has to be given, first!
Someone has to get the ball rolling. And given the power that leaders have in their roles, it should be part of their jobs to make this first step.
In a way, trust is simple: you need to start giving it… or nothing will happen!
In other ways, however, it’s also quite complicated: how do you actually pull this off — to give trust — in practice? And what do you do if your trust has been disappointed??
I promise to revisit (and, as much as I can, answer) these questions in my next essays.
But for now, you’re already way ahead of your competition: simply by remembering THAT and WHY trust is essential for building successful organizations!