8 Reasons You Can Skip Trust in the New Year

Why trust may not be in your future

Posted Dec 27, 2016

Recent events have bombarded us with reasons why trust is not always good -- from fake news to hacked information, and from broken promises to saying one thing and doing another. While our election cycle has exacerbated ends-justify-the-means tactics, diminishing an already fragile state of societal trust, one thing is clear: we're entering a New Year with high distrust between those holding different political views, philosophical beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, and objectives.

Some use a broad-brush for trust determinations, professing categorically those "others" can't be trusted. That thinking can create a new-normal, influencing how we operate our communities, schools, and workplaces. Of course, in some places it's already like that. Take workplaces for example. For decades, some work-cultures have specifically developed policies, procedures, and reward systems around distrust, citing differences of trustworthiness, based solely on role, status, salary, background, or gender.

Whatever your beliefs around trust -- what it is, what it isn't, its importance or its naiveté -- not every leader uses trust as a way to engage, lead, or get results. And not every leader should. Trust isn't inherently good. It matters to whom it's given, when, and why. That determines whether operating with trust, the authentic kind anyway, has a positive or negative impact.

But what is often misunderstood is that for trust to be effective, it matters also who gives it. Is that leader credible, believable, and worthy of someone else's trust? Are their words and actions aligned? As a leader, where do you stand? Is operating with trust in your future?

BingImage free to use and share
Source: BingImage free to use and share

Below are 8 statements to consider for the New Year if you lead, manager, or need to influence others. Circle the statements that are true for you at work or those which align with your beliefs or thinking, more often than not, about operating with trust:

  1. Staff engagement, innovation, creativity, and ideas aren't something that you personally need from those you lead or work with.
  2. Trust isn't an operating approach where you work. Those at the top typically provide answers; others implement with limited authority.
  3. The "win" is what matters most to you; the end justifies the means.
  4. Your trust is reserved for some family and friends; the risk of giving trust beyond that is not worth it.
  5. Using a style of "cordial hypocrisy" -- the façade of trust -- works fine for you.
  6. You don't need to operate with trust. You can best influence people via performance appraisals, risk of job loss, or disciplinary action.
  7. People are interchangeable parts at work; a trust-culture isn't needed to enhance staff results or performance.
  8. Trust is an outdated approach in a world of complex work issues, constant change, and personal success challenges.

Bottom line: If you marked true for any two statements, operating with trust may not be your typical approach, or beliefs about the trustworthiness of others may be holding you back from learning how to operate with trust. If so, you can skip trust in the New Year, unless of course, you'd like to evolve your trust giving skills and results. If so, it'll require learning a few new skills, challenging some personal beliefs, and increasing  your self-awareness.

The reality is that trust does come with risk, but not giving trust does, too. For those who want the dividends trust brings -- from greater profitability, collaboration, and customer service to higher engagement, productivity, dialogue, innovation, and sustainability, the workplaces, schools, and communities of the future applaud you, need you, and are waiting for you.

While trust is not always a good thing, those who understand it's boundaries, limits, requirements, and accountabilities will reap its rewards. They'll also create the norms and work cultures of the future that will draw, keep, and engage the most sought after employees, customers, and stakeholders.

More tips about how to create and operate with trust at work:

You'll find more tips and how-tos in my book: Trust, Inc.: How to Create a Business Culture That Will Ignite Passion, Engagement, and Innovation