Trust is better for your success and well-being.

-When you learn how to trust responsibly.

Who hasn’t hesitated to trust others in the workplace or personal life?

Unfortunately, we live in a culture of mistrust that strains relationships and hinders our ability to succeed. Our lack of trust is evident everywhere, from politics to institutions to our personal lives.

According to Pew Research, in 2019, 71% of Americans think interpersonal confidence has worsened in the past 20 years. 49% believe Americans are less reliable than they used to be. Nearly six in ten people (58%) believe improving Americans’ confidence in each other is essential.

Mistrust is detrimental.
Imagine you’re leading a high-stakes project but don’t trust your team because they’ve disappointed you in the past. Out of fear and self-protection, you make essential decisions without their participation or feedback.

You lay out the plan and assign everyone their tasks. However, because you’ve ignored their input and expertise, they feel demoralized, undervalued and less motivated. Without their full engagement, you work harder and sleep less to complete the project successfully.

While there’s always a risk to trust, there’s also a risk when you don’t.

The solution is to learn to trust responsibly.

The benefits of trust.
In leadership, trust is fundamental to productive working relationships. Without it, conflicts and breakdowns in collaboration occur. People are less willing to share their ideas, concerns or challenges openly, hindering communication, innovation and problem-solving.

Paul J. Zak, a professor of economics, psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University and the founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics, says trust is paramount for productivity and well-being.

His research reveals that people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives and 40% less burnout.

How to mitigate the risks of extending trust.
Despite the upside of trust, it’s hard to ignore past experiences when our trust was abused or mishandled. The key is to treat people as responsible adults holding them accountable without micromanaging the process.

You begin with a conversation to clarify expectations on both sides. This is a give-and-take discussion where everyone negotiates to meet their needs for support, results and accountability.

The goal is to create a mutual agreement for success to ensure fewer surprises and broken trust later on. Then you stick to the plan. If you have a thorough and honest discussion, it’s more likely that the other person will also follow through on their end.

It’s more time-consuming to have this conversation upfront. It also takes a dose of vulnerability, but the extra effort is worth it.

If trusting others in your professional or personal life is low on your list of strengths, I encourage you to reconsider. People can be your greatest resource helping you accomplish much and enjoy more if you trust them responsibly.

Til next week,
Jo-Aynne Von Born, Leadership and Executive Coach

Work Your Authentic Genius.
1.      Generally, do you trust people or believe they will disappoint you?
2.      How do you react when you sense someone doesn’t trust you?
3.      How likely are you to meet a person’s expectations when they demonstrate their trust in you?

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