One of my brilliant mentors asked something in a workshop we were co-facilitating the other day: “Is trust earned, or is it granted?” Most people, myself included, thought it was obvious – earned. The answer – granted.
I had to really pause at that one as I am always saying to the teams and leaders I work with “we earn trust, it takes times, trust isn’t born, it grows and develops.” Well yes, all true, if you are coming from a place of having been burned and judging each new situation by past experiences rather than letting go or becoming conscious of your biases.
She explained; to grant trust, is to be vulnerable, take a risk, and put your faith in another you may not know at all. It is essential for fostering new relationships and repairing old ones. To grant trust is a key piece of inclusivity. Mind blown.
It made me think of my kids and the parents my husband and I practice being (practice being the operative word as we fail – a lot). We have chosen to grant trust to our kids until they break it. Because of our love for them, and the desire for them to grow, achieve, and become the human beings they want to become, we know that granting this trust will help facilitate that. If they had to earn our trust while they are leaving their rooms a disaster, acting like sociopathic monsters on certain mornings, or the daily forgetting of keys, gloves, lunches etc, they would NEVER have our trust.
Our eldest is staying home alone for four days while we head out of town with our youngest. By granting him our trust we have noticed his maturity expand, his self regard swell, and his connection to us deepen. All from choosing to trust rather than waiting.
It made me wonder what it would be like if we did this for our newest colleagues, our co-workers, our direct reports, our bosses, the people most different from us? What might happen to our cultures at work? Would we facilitate more collaborative, innovative, and safe workspaces? You bet.
We tend to grant trust easily to those most similar to us. So ask yourself, who do I grant trust to and who do I insist earns it? Am I willing to trust those different from me? Wrestle with the hard questions and start to pay attention to your biases. I know I will be looking deeply at how I practice trust from now on.
Until we can grant trust to the spectrum of people in our daily lives, we will never be able to practice true inclusivity and our performances, workplaces, and society suffer.
Michelle has coached with leaders and teams from across North America and the UK. She has worked with both private sector and not- for-profit executives and their employees to help them gain greater alignment with both personal and team goals. Read more about Michelle