Week 15 – The price of Trust
Pretty amazing thought, but I’ve been noticing just how valuable trust is and how expensive distrust is.
Think about how much easier it is to work and interact with those you trust versus those whom you either distrust or who you just don’t trust as much. I think in the working environment, this can be greatly influenced by the management team. I was fortunate to work in a company where trust was an integral part of the culture and in others where CYA was the norm. I got a lot more work done in the former than the latter.
Trust impacts a lot of areas of your work life. The biggest and most obvious I think is communication. There is a completely different level of communication with those you trust and those you do not trust. Communication with those you trust is often less formal and overall richer in content. You are more likely to have a face to face with those you trust (you probably like them more). Face to face is the richest form of communication; you convey much more than just the words. You can communicate greater range of meaning and emotion.
On the other hand, those you do not trust are more likely than not to get an email. Probably one that has a few cc’s – just in case. The email is likely to be very factual and directive – “I need such and such by Tuesday.” You’re unlikely to convey emotions (emoticons not withstanding) or any richer channels – you probably even avoid verbal communications.
OK, yes I am talking about myself as well. I find that distrust leads to more distrust and avoidance and thus non-communication and ultimately ineffectiveness which hurts everyone and your project. Therefore, I conclude that it is counter-productive to distrust someone – regardless of their prior behavior. So, I can’t remember who said it, but the motto goes “trust, but verify.”
I’m going to work on adopting that. It is unprofessional for me not to verify and ensure that what is committed is done, but at the same time it is unprofessional (and unproductive) for me to go on the assumption that it will not be done, or not done well. I think I will save a lot of time and heartache personally.
Let me suggest then that trust is not earned it is given, and that we should give it freely and constantly to those we work with. Yes, just like Charlie Brown always going for the field goal with Lucy holding the ball. If you are in an un-trusting work relationship, it is time to take the first step – just like I will on Monday.