trəst – noun
- firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
- confidence placed in a person by making that person the nominal owner of property to be held or used for the benefit of one or more others.
I figured I would start today with the definition of trust just to make sure that were on the same playing field; so that we would know what we’re talking about in this post. Trust is the most powerful currency that you can have in business and in your life. Without trust, you’ll make achieving your desired results even more difficult if not impossible. It is a simple concept, one that most of us understand, but it is hard to achieve. It is even harder to maintain in the relationships that matter most to you. This is about building this trust, this emotional capital, between yourself and others that matter to you in your life. It is the key to success and great leadership.
Think of the last time somebody lied to you, and you caught them. Think of the feelings and emotions that you may have wrestled with at that time. Even if they swore to never lie again to you, you probably had that doubt in the back of your mind each time that person open their mouth. Perhaps it was just a few interactions with that person before you started to regain trust, or maybe the lie continued to eat at your confidence in them for days, weeks, months or even years later.
Why Does It Matter?
Studies have shown us it takes five positive interactions to negate a single negative interaction. This lopsided equation of deposits and withdrawals in a person’s emotional bank account means that we need to be on her best behavior and consider others’ feelings at all times. Even if we do not mean to we may damage a relationship with the smallest of comments or actions. What damage was caused to your relationship with the person that lied to you?
Think of a boss who has a negative balance in your emotional bank account; that manager who never really seems to see you as a person, just as a worker. What would be your response if he came up to you and asked you to work this weekend? Most of us would come up with reasons on why we could not come in. Perhaps we had a family obligation or some other errand, real or imaginary, that prevented us from coming in over the weekend.
Now think of a boss that you truly respect; a leader who has invested time with you, knows your family members, asked how your kids are doing, and spends time with you in the trenches. How would you react if he asked you to come in on Saturday? Most of us would react and think quite differently than we would from the boss that we have no connection with it all. It is trust in the building an emotional bank account with that leader that gives him the influence to actually have us come in over the weekend.
We Are Not Machines
Consider your personal life. What if your relationship with your spouse or significant other was limited in the trust you had? If they suddenly had to go to work at night, would you believe that there sitting at the office working? Or would we think that perhaps there cheating on us or out doing something that they shouldn’t be? The human mind naturally goes to the negative. We think in “worst possibilities” at times. When trust is lacking in the relationship, we have a tendency to think of the worst possibilities.
Technology is an amazing creation. We gather information at the speed of light. Anything we want to know about we simply enter into Google. Within seconds we can be experts, because we have thousands of facts right at our fingertips. Our cell phones go to space and back in a matter of seconds connecting one side of the planet to the other. The abilities we have in this modern technological age are simply breathtaking if we stop to think about it.
Doing It Differently
However, technology does not have a heartbeat. Our computers, our smart phones, our tablets, and everything in between allow us to have great power over information. In doing so, however, it has removed human interaction almost entirely. Consider a family dinner in our current world with the father is flipping through channels on the TV trying to find his favorite sports team. Mom is on the phone talking to someone. The daughter is on her iPhone texting her boyfriend. And finally Junior sits playing a game boy as his meatloaf gets cold. This example may seem a little over-the-top to you or it may seem spot on, but either way, it is happening in more and more homes on this thing we call Earth. Technology has given us new ways to communicate, however, it stripped us of our human interactions at the same time.
Think of the last time you were at the office and sent an instant message to one of your coworkers that was only a cube over. I know I’m guilty of it as well! It’s too easy, and we are in the habit of sitting there and having communication come to us. In this instant gratification world, we have lost the ability to sit down and talk. If we can spend time and slow down our lives enough to build the trust and the emotional bank account within others we will reap much larger rewards!
There are many ways to build trust, but the easiest and fastest is to look someone in the eye and let them know you’ve got this.
Here is our Leadership Challenge worksheet for Trust in PDF format. Please Enjoy.