Four days ago I was practicing yoga in a serene place with 38 other people I did not know. This was part of a weekend getaway my husband had given me as an early Christmas present. The only thing I had in common with the people I was going to spend three days with was our love of yoga. As I woke up from my second night there, I realized we all had something else in common besides our love of yoga – we all had Trust. We all trusted we were staying in a safe place to practice yoga, the instructors were knowledgeable in their craft and the experience was going to be amazing.
Awareness of Trust is an odd thing because it can come from the strangest places and situations, as in the yoga retreat example above. I have been on teams when we knew we trusted each other and other teams where trust was said with a snicker and a laugh. Trust is hard to define. You know when it happens and when you have it, but you most certainly know when you don’t.
There are so many reasons why we either do or don’t trust people, but how do you quantify trust and why? How do you know if you have high trust, a high trust quotient or low trust quotient?
How to Increase Your Trust Quotient:
Treat Trust as a Gift. To be trusted is a true gift and one that must be bestowed. Like other gifts in life, trust can’t be bought. You can honor this gift by doing what you say you will do. This sounds simple, but it is powerful and has so many applications.
Build Relationships. Rarely will you find someone who trusts a stranger. Even babies prefer people they know. If you want to be trusted, you have to spend the time to invest in people. This is not easy work. Spending time building relationships with those you work with will pay trust dividends.
Communicate. It sounds over used, but communication is the key to Trust. Rarely will anyone ever speak about Trust and mention mind-reading. Communication must be genuine, timely, and context appropriate.
Enable Transparency. If you want to build trust with a group of people, make it safe for them to be transparent. We have a rule in my home (I have two daughters, ages 4 & 6) about honesty – you get in less trouble if you simply tell the truth. It is a known fact and we have created a culture in our home that makes it safe to tell the truth and by doing so are hopefully modeling Trust. This can easily transfer to the work place – you MUST be honest in all situations. You have to make it easier to be transparent by being honest in every situation.
Trust is never an accident. Trust is not tangible. Trust is felt.
In our daily lives the great thing about Trust is that at any moment you can change yourself by making a decision to do so. Have people had a problem trusting you in the past? If so, start anew and decide today is the day when you will decide to increase your trust quotient. It won’t be an easy process, but anything worth doing well is rarely easy.