When we say “trust” what does that mean?

And just to be clear, I’m talking about trust in the context of a team. Trust is certainly a valid concern on a sports team. As a matter of fact, Mike Krzyzewski—“Coach K” with Duke University Basketball for 40 years—offers this statement in his book Leading with the Heart:
“In leadership, there are no words more important than trust. In any organization, trust must be developed among every member of the team if success is going to be achieved.”
But my focus is on the world of organizations, of enterprise, of work, which touches most of us. Most experts in the science of teams assert that trust is the foundational element in team effectiveness. I certainly agree with that concept, based on my own experience. But in this short article, let’s begin by understanding what we mean when we say “trust.” Let’s notice what trust is NOT… Trust is not LIKABILITY. A person being “nice” or someone you might like to hang out with on weekends does not define trust. The fact that you “mean well” does not create trust with your team members. As a matter of fact, you don’t really have to like a person in order to trust that person in your work together! (More about that in a future post…) In contrast, Denise Rousseau suggests this definition of trust:
“Trust is a psychological state comprising the intention to accept vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the intentions or behavior of another.”

In other words, Trust = Intentions + Behavior. Stephen M.R. Covey, in his book Speed of Trust, breaks down trust in what he calls “Four Cores”

  • Integrity – Being honest, walking the talk, living your values
  • Intent – Are you in this for yourself, or for others and for the team? Is your focus short-term or long-term?
  • Capabilities – Your talents, attitudes, skills, and knowledge. Do you have the expertise to do your job well?
  • Results – Your track record, your performance, and how you value the shared results of the team in relationship to your own individual achievements and recognition
    Here is another formula I like, from the ScienceForWork nonprofit foundation:
When we say “trust” what does that mean?

To drive this home, try this exercise with the team you lead, or suggest it to your manager:

Personal Histories Exercise

In a meeting, go around the room and have every member of the team share these three things:

  1. Where they grew up
  2. How many kids, and their birth order in the family
  3. The most difficult or important challenge of their childhood

Obviously, the first two are factual and easy. The third question is the opportunity to really learn something significant about each person. Patrick Lencioni relates this outcome from a client team he worked with:

A guy hesitated a moment and then explained that when he was eight years old, his twelve-year-old brother was murdered, and that was tough on him. One of his teammates sitting across the table was stunned, and after a moment said, “I’ve worked with you for nine years and I never heard about that.” To which his colleague said, “Yeah, I was just never sure about the right time to bring it up.”

This could be an extreme example. On the other hand, it vividly illustrates the fact that we all have something unique that “makes us human” and makes us who we are. Discovering that about one another, we increase the level of trust, which strengthens the foundation of working together effectively.

What’s the trust level in your team? I would love to chat about that!

Source : https://tomdonaldson.com/when-we-say-trust-what-does-that-mean/