Trust Isn’t a One-Way Street, We are All Responsible for Creating it
We all know trust is important and, now more than ever, that the strength of our trust in others is being tested. Trust in others for our health and safety, and in the working sense, trust in others to work remotely and continue to perform. But trust isn’t solely on one-person alone, it’s on all of us to create. Three (3) easy ways we can help create trust between us and others are listed below.
P.S. Watch the short video below about what being an FBI Agent taught me about trust.
- Experiences – The biggest source of trust in others comes from experiencing someone doing what they said they would do. If we never give someone an opportunity to earn our trust, how can we expect to trust them? While this may seem self-explanatory, how often do we actually give others a chance to build our trust without looking over their shoulder? Giving others the chance to earn our trust WILL help build trust through the autonomy others seek to see they are trusted.
- Responsibilities – Oftentimes we take it for granted that the responsibilities others have are clearly understood. However, if they go unspoken, how can we hold someone to something which is never expressed? When their responsibilities are never clearly expressed, and they don’t fulfill them, it creates a lack of trust in them to fulfill their responsibilities. Clearly outlining the responsibilities we are holding others accountable to WILL help build trust as we’ve specifically identified what they are beholden to for their benefit and for ours.
- Expectations – Each of us have our own expectations for how something should be done and the level of quality it should be done with. However, we don’t always share them. When we give or assign a task for someone to complete, have we also clearly conveyed the expectations we have around that task? When we don’t, and what we are given does not rise to our expectations, it creates a lack of trust that the other person can complete the task in the way we expected. Clearly conveying our expectations from the start WILL build trust in others as we’ve armed them with the details they need to meet our expectations.
Creating the Trust We Need in Others
When there are, and rightfully so, real concerns for our basic needs, such as, health, food, safety, and financial security, we can question the trust we have in those around us. For instance, trust in others to care for our safety when we are grocery shopping, trust in others to maintain 6 feet between us when walking outside, and trust in others to be sanitary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when handling goods or mail we are to receive. Three (3) easy ways we can help create trust between us and others during these times are listed below.
- Knowing Our Comfort Level – What am I comfortable with? Knowing the answer to this question not only helps us determine if we go outside, to the store, and what protection we wear when we do it, it also helps us understand what others are comfortable with too! There’s the saying of: “If you have a question you want to ask in a room full of people, you should ask it because it is very likely others are wondering the same thing.” This is no different, this challenge is something we ALL face and what makes us feel comfortable and safe throughout it IS going to be shared by others around us. Knowing what we are comfortable with and sharing it with others WILL build trust between you knowing you are on the same page for your health and safety.
- Shared Values & Needs – At the heart of the question above is what we value and what we need. Valuing our health and safety, and that of our loved ones, and the need to ensure it drives our actions and who we associate with. Exploring what we value and need right now WILL help us determine what relationships in our lives we CAN trust by knowing who shares these values and needs. In short, knowing what we value and need and asking ourselves who shares them WILL build your trust in them.
- Agreements – Having a plan, having direction, and having clear cut steps to take are all things which give us hope and the ability to put one foot in front of the other. An additional item that does this for us is agreements. Agreements on how to interact with each other, agreements on how to protect ourselves, and agreements on how to handle specific situations. Agreements, simply put, create a framework for us and others to follow which allow us to create trust in each other knowing we’ve collectively agreed upon how to act for the benefit of each other. Creating agreements WILL help us build trust with others.
Building Trust Through Communication
In times like these, we can feel rushed, feel pressured, and the need to be directive, e.g., not “beat around the bush.” In addition, and always applicable, being in a position of inherent power (i.e., boss and employee relationship or parent and child relationship) can also cause us to not “beat around the bush.” However, during these times, trust is very important and the way we communicate can make or break that trust. Not “beating around the bush” can actually cause a breakdown in trust when communicating instead of creating it. Three (3) easy ways we can build trust through communication during these times are listed below.
P.S. Click here to watch a short video about the importance of trust in communication.
- Inclusive Versus Exclusive Language – The difference in language we use can be subtle but make a large impact on the conversations we have. A shift from exclusive language that makes people feel targeted or defensive to inclusive language that makes people feel welcomed and a part of something can truly dictate how our conversation is going to go and what results from it. For example, shifting from “Be careful how you spend your time” to “Being careful with how we spend our time” creates inclusion and makes whom we are speaking to feel like they are a part of a conversation rather than being talked at. Shifting to inclusive language from exclusive language WILL build trust with others as they know we do care and we are in it for them, not just ourselves.
- Constructive Versus De-constructive Tonality – The tone of a conversation greatly influences how the conversation will go and what results from it. Switching our tone from “What I need to convey” to “What I want US to achieve” creates a constructive tone for our conversations. When we focus on what we need to convey, we naturally tend to use exclusive language and be very directive. On the other hand, when we focus on what we want to achieve, we naturally tend to use inclusive language and be very collaborative. Switching the intention of our conversations to “What we want US to achieve” WILL create a constructive tone to our conversations. This switch WILL build trust through an atmosphere of inclusion and “We are in this together,” rather than an atmosphere of every person for themselves.
- Openness or Self-Fulfilling Prophecy – Before entering a conversation, asking ourselves if we have any preconceived notions about how the conversation will go can greatly influence how the conversation ACTUALLY goes. When we expect a certain outcome or reaction from someone, we can fall victim to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of openly viewing how someone reacts and listening to what they say, we can infer the meaning we expect instead. In essence, twisting their words and reactions to meet our expectations. Clearing our thoughts of any preconceived notions to openly go into a conversation WILL help us build trust with others by giving them the opportunity to earn our trust, as well as, show them we are willing to be open and collaborative with them.
So far, we have talked about building trust with others; however, there is one important aspect of building trust we have not covered – building trust in ourselves. When we are under pressure, facing something new, or being pulled in too many directions, we can start to question ourselves and our ability to complete the task(s) at hand. But we are capable! And, we are able to trust ourselves to do what we need to! Three (3) easy ways we can build trust in ourselves are listed below.
- Getting Back to Center – With uncertainty, anxiety, and stress comes clutter! Clutter, which makes it hard to “think straight.” When this happens, we can feel like we are all over the place, our minds are going a million miles a minute, and it is hard to focus. Using what centers us – what creates calmness, relaxation, and peace – DOES help us overcome our clutter to get back to center; a place in which we can think straight. Getting back to center WILL build trust in ourselves because we will feel calmer and able to think straight to address the task(s) at hand.
- What I’ve Done Before – Our experiences in life hold a lot of keys for us, including the ones which make us successful. It is easy for us to get caught up in the moment and have tunnel vision on the here and now, foregoing the past. However, the past DOES guide and serve us; and, it’s not just the positive experiences we’ve had, it’s the negative ones too. Knowing where we’ve come from, what we’ve done, and how we’ve done it DOES build our trust – our confidence – that we CAN and WILL do it again.
- Strengths – Strengths are strengths for a reason. They are what we are very good at, which has come from developing them over time and the continual success using them has brought us. When we are pressed for time, doing something new, or feeling overwhelmed, actively reflecting on what our strengths are and how we can use them WILL create trust in ourselves. Trust which comes from knowing I HAVE been there before, I AM capable, and I AM going to do it again through what HAS helped me before – my strengths!
Absolute Unwavering Trust
Our trust in others, even those whom we thought we truly trusted, can be questioned during challenging times. Which, in turn, calls into question how deeply did we actually trusted them to begin with. Trust can be absolute but, trust can also be fickle. What we are all experiencing now is a great teacher of whom we trust absolutely and whom we do not. Three (3) easy ways we can build absolute unwavering trust during these times are listed below.
P.S. Watch the short video below about what absolute unwavering trust meant for me in the FBI.
- Who Am I In This for? – Asking ourselves “Who am I in this for?” lets us know if we are in it solely for our ourselves or if we are in it for ourselves AND others. We, as human beings, easily pick up on when someone is in it just for them; meaning, they are in it just to advance their career, they are in it just to get what they want, or they don’t care about the impact they have on others as long as they reach their goal. TRULY being in it for others in addition to ourselves WILL build absolute unwavering trust by letting others know you ARE there for them.
- What Fundamental Human Need Are We Protecting? – Shared needs are one commonality which connects people together at the core of who they are. Knowing what basic, fundamental, and very real need which is currently threatened creates awareness around what connects us together, such as the current concern for the health of everyone in the world. Knowing what need we and others are protecting WILL build absolute unwavering trust with others through the shared desire to protect our that need for ourselves AND them.
- The Proof is in the Pudding – Actions speak louder than words. A saying we’ve heard before, and a saying which rings true. Our words and promises aren’t enough by themselves to create true absolute and unwavering trust. It is our actions which create it. Showing up time and time again, proving we truly ARE in it for others, in addition to ourselves, WILL build absolute unwavering trust with them by actually being there for them AND in it for them too!