Of all of the business books that I have researched, and all of the people management articles I have read, there is a word that is used repeatedly by all: ‘TRUST’.
However initially, I don’t think I truly ‘got it’ initially.
I thought of myself as a trustworthy person and that others would somehow ‘see’ this and the ‘trust thing’ would be done!
I was wrong.
I read once “don’t confuse people’s reliance upon you, to do the right thing by them, as trust”.
Trust is a far deeper connection. It requires vulnerability at the risk of being betrayed. It requires optimism about the others’ intentions. And it requires evidence of trustworthiness.
Consider meeting a loving partner. Despite trust being vital to a long-term loving relationship, we do not trust immediately. If we did I imagine there would be many proposals of marriage within the first week of couples meeting. In order to develop trust, couples need to prove to each other over a series of small commitments that they can be trusted. For example turning up to dates, being careful with each others feelings and displaying a protectiveness over the relationship.
I have learnt the same is true for our relationships with staff members and patients.
To expect both new staff members and patients to commit to us, and believe in us, without first establishing trust is a flawed approach.
I started to truly understand trust when I took the time to build it, mainly by providing evidence that I could be trusted. That I was trustworthy. It was through this mindfulness about the process that I saw the importance of:
- fulfilling a series of small commitments
- speaking about my values and agenda, and
- honouring others’ vulnerability.
Trust is not an assumed state that you simply need to avoid breaking for it to continue. Most organisations and leaders break it when there is a cost involved in remaining trustworthy!
Be true to your word. Be on time. Be consistent. Be transparent. Care.
Before asking your fellow staff members and patients to commit to you and your practice, provide them with evidence that you can be trusted.
In my next blog, I will explore what needs to be done when trust has been breached.