Social Sciences define Trust as a feeling of relying on somebody or the feeling that somebody or something will turn out to be good. It is the feeling of being sure about something, even if it cannot be proved.
Trust is a critical human sentiment and is needed in every relation and at every step of the way. Trust may be explicitly stated through statements like ‘I trust you’ or ‘I believe in you’ or ‘I am sure about this’ and so on. However, it is not necessary that one always uses such explicit phrases to show trust. Trust can be shown by implicit actions too like giving a team member an added critical responsibility which shows a high level of trust. A very simple example of trust is parenting – kids blindly trust their parents and follow them everywhere without explicitly saying anything about trust. When you throw a baby in the air, she laughs because she knows you will catch her. That is TRUST! Let us look at a few facets of trust and what it may mean to different people.
Trust as a leader
One of the critical elements of good leadership is showing trust in your team and ensuring that the team can trust you and your leadership in every situation. In my last column, I touched upon five attributes of leadership which included professional competence, courage to take decisions, fair mindedness, ability to show the larger picture and ability to identify the right person for the right job. A leader possessing these will certainly be seen as a trusted leader. Trust needs to work the other way around too, a leader must also show trust in her/his team and steer clear of over/micro management.
Trust as a team member
Fostering trust amongst peers is critical for a healthy and positive working environment. Critical as it is, trust is difficult to build and even more difficult to sustain. Building trust with peers takes time and positive efforts. Positive efforts like praising your peers when it’s due, sharing critical information which you feel might be useful to your peers, avoiding gossip and most importantly honesty go a long way in building trust.
Trust as a friend
Trust is one of the important requirements of friendship. Just like any other relation, friendship cannot survive without trust. I have on several occasions come across people who say ‘S/he is my friend but I cannot trust them’ and I simply do not understand the relationship then. I strongly believe that friendship stands on two solid pillars – Respect & Trust. If either of them is missing, it may be a relationship of convenience but one can hardly call it friendship.
Trust as a human being
As humans we inherently want to trust and connect with people around us – we are hardwired to do that. Trust as a feeling is an important one for all humans. being around trusted people gives you a feeling of comfort and happiness. It is important to have this feeling and extremely important to be able to build this with others. Virtues like credibility, dependability, reliability, empathy, mindfulness are some that help in building trust.
Trust as a virtue is needed now more than ever because we are living in a time that the world has never before seen. There is uncertainty all around us. This uncertainty is causing unhappiness, stress and strained relationships – personal and professional. So, I urge all to work hard to trust more and harder to gain trust from others.
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