Well, it came and it went. The Trust Conference. As it did last year. And although it is now disappearing on the horizon of a new month something, once again, stuck with me.
Actually 2 things stuck with me. I’m going to be using myself as an example of how I myself have applied trust.
1. Trust starts with yourself
One theme that ran through each of the speakers presentations was that trust needs to start with you. As a person. How can others trust you if you are a bit shaky on what you trust yourself with?
So how do you work out where you are most trusted? As I see it, it comes in two strands. Self-reflection and opening yourself up to others. The first part, self-reflection can be a little tricky as we can all rationalise away problems and build ourselves up. This is where a profile test can come in. It can objectively assess where your personality provides strengths and challenges.
I am a Lord profile. The strengths of my personality are in details and certainty (and personally in a general pleasure in spreadsheets and flowcharts). I am challenged when I have to deal with people and variety (not a natural multi-tasker by any means). This means that on paper I can be trusted with spotting errors and asking awkward questions that bring things into focus. I can lose trust quickly if I am always in front of people and dealing with too many things at once.
The second part is even trickier as our defences go up when we ask the opinion of others. The phrase “Yes, but…” can sometimes be heard. I find concentrating on understanding the points and applying them to yourself before jumping to your own defence works well. Especially if you are asking people you trust!
Asking others confirms my profile with a few surprises. Although I have a tendency to focus (some might say obsess) on the detail I have a reputation of getting things done. You could say I am trusted to finish. Despite my challenges with people, people consider me to be quite diplomatic. I can be trusted to take on multiple points of view and deal with things fairly. I also have a tendency of phrasing things in just the right way (all in the detail) to not put people’s noses out of joint.
2. Trust builds when you offer it
The second point is that if you don’t offer trust, you cannot build trust. Very often we can get stuck in a cycle of not trusting.
“I don’t trust them, so I won’t let them do something just in case they fail”
This leads to team members not being given the opportunity to do something they might excel at. Stephen MR Covey’s point here is that you shouldn’t blindly trust everyone but that you should be smart about the trust you give. Start with the small things (or the detail ) and let trust build. If the small things are delivered and the trust is developing, go a little bigger or wider. Get other people’s opinions as yours might be biased in some way.
We’ve recently restructured in our business and I’ve had to offer trust to others. I have a tendency to be controlling so this has been hard for me.
I didn’t blindly just toss people a load of work with a half-arsed ‘I trust you’.
What I did was consider the benefits of the trust I was offering:
- Allowing me to focus more on the things that needed to be done.
- Providing others with opportunities to develop.
- Attempting to align what needed to be done with what has been done in the past or my view point on which responsibilities people might thrive with.
- Getting the view point of others.
- Understanding that with trust comes a responsibility to support.
My understanding of my own area of trust (my profile and the opinion of others) and the understanding of where I already trust people has been a great help.
I can easily provide a structure to allow people space to use their own initiative but also provide them boundaries which they can understand and help them to focus. I can help people with problems or issues that they are struggling with by providing an objective viewpoint that weighs the pros and cons (possibly on a flowchart!).
This is how I am starting to apply trust after this year’s Trust Conference. The interesting thing to note is that the above two points were already under way before the Conference but by examining actions and outcomes through the lens of trust I am able to not only further justify the things that are working, as the trust builds, but I am also able to examine why certain things are not working and use trust to explore ways of improving results.
What did you takeaway from this year’s Trust Conference? How are you applying them?