Do you trust me?

Hi!!! And Welcome Back to Motivated Mondays! 

We’re talking about well-being. 

A quick recap of last week before we continue.

Last week, we took a break from building High Quality Connections to engage in self-care. It was an effort live in alignment with the work we explore together and cultivate personal well-being. I invited you all to create and fill your own “Medicine Bag”or a repository of lovely and engaging activities and ideas that you can dip into in moments where you need an emotional or inspirational boost. Once you created a personalized list of ways to refill your cup, I invited you to join me in the practice of self-care. 

I hope you accepted my invitation to practice self-care! If so, what did you notice? What did it feel like to prioritize yourself and fill your own cup? Was it difficult? Relieving? Fulfilling?Remember, it’s hard to share anything from an empty cup. I hope you continue to show yourself how valuable you are by practicing self-care.

If you think back a bit further, you will remember that we were exploring High Quality Connections (HQCs) as a way to build vibrant connective tissue within organizations and communities (1). As a reminder, HQCs are not just formed within our close, intimate relationships. Rather, HQCs have the potential to impact moments of connection with anyone, from a loved one, to a colleague, to a complete stranger.

So, let's dive back in and

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You can feel a High Quality Connection when you have one. They energize us as they demonstrate mutual regard, trust, and active engagement from both sides (1). These connections help us feel open, competent, engaged, and energized. Think of it this way. Energy is a renewable resource that helps us act and feel capable of action (1). It is also the fuel for organizations. HQCs help to refill this fuel tank.

There are four main pathways to developing a High Quality Connection (1):

  1. Respectful Engagement - Sending a message of value and worth to someone else. 
  2. Task Enabling - Helping another succeed.
  3. Trusting - Conveying belief in another.
  4. Play - Having fun with another.

Two weeks ago, we explored Task Enabling as one way to build a HQC, and I invited you to consider who enables you and how? Did you make a list of who has helped you in moments of need within your own organization or community? Then, did you note the ways in which they have helped you? Perhaps you took it a step further and made a list of ways you can you pay it forward and lift someone up through task enabling in your own organization or community? I hope you joined me in creating some ripple effects by task enabling others (1, 2)!

This week, I want to examine another way to build HQCs: Trusting. 

Trusting is yet another way to build the dynamic energy of a High Quality Connection. It means acting with integrity, dependability, and benevolence towards another (1). It is a way of showing positive expectations about someone’s behavior and intention. It sounds simple, but in practice, trusting can be quite difficult. Perhaps, you were burned in the past? Perhaps, it makes you feel vulnerable. To some, trusting can feel down right dangerous. 

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While I am not going to ask you to try the trapeze. I hope you see that yes, trust inherently requires some risk. Only you can decide when and how you want to build trust. However, when we adopt a stance of “trust is earned” or “show me”, we miss the opportunity to build trust and craft potentially High Quality Connections with others. When we make ourselves vulnerable and rely on others visibly, we create opportunities for trust (1). 

Trust can seem elusive, because it's built not only by what we say and do, but also by what we do not say and do. 

If we want to do something to build trust, we can share valuable information or resources as it signals to the other party that we trust them. We could also try appropriate self-disclosure as way to increase trust (1). This can be a particularly rare commodity in organizations, so it is also a powerful one. Let others know what you stand for, value, want, and hope for. This kind of self-disclosure allows someone to get to know you, builds trust, and encourages others around you to do the same. When you follow up on someone else’s self-disclosure by demonstrating care and taking an interest in their world, it not only creates a HQC through respectful engagement, it builds trust (1).

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Using inclusive language such as “we” also conveys interdependence and trust to those around you (1). It helps us feel intertwined and reliant on one another, encouraging trust. To be effective, inclusive language must be followed by inclusive actions. We must act in alignment with our words to create and build trust (1). Sharing credit is another sure fire way to build trust as it honors and invites connection while sending the message that we depend on the other person. It says that the person is valued and creates the potential for increased trust and collaboration through demonstrated value.

Trust can also be built by what we don’t say and do!

If we withhold an accusation of bad intent or refuse to jump to a conclusion, we can protect someone’s trust even in difficult situations (1). As we all know, trust can break much more quickly than it can build. So being mindful of what we don’t say is also effective to develop and maintain trust. And while we are on this subject, avoid punishing others for errors. This can also build trust. After all, doesn’t everyone make mistakes from time to time? In the same vein, avoiding surveillance or check-up behaviors gives someone the opportunity to build trust, while engaging in these behaviors signals to the other person that they are not trusted (1). So not engaging in certain behavior impacts trust just as much as engaging in other behaviors!

Giving away control yet another way to develop trust. It demonstrates trust, especially to someone you are nurturing or developing. It says we have faith in your choices and gives the other person an opportunity to rise. Convince yourself of the power in allowing someone else the space to pick up the ball and pay attention to what this action generates. Soliciting and acting on input or feedback can also develop trust as it sends a powerful message of value and trust (1).

Trust is also a special resource that increases with use!

When we believe the other person is acting with our best interests in mind, a trusting connection can grow. Assuming this process of mutual trust is not broken, it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle. 

This week, I invite you to explore your own history with trusting. Awareness of your own trusting behavior is the first step to creating trust. What experiences have strengthened or challenged your ability to trust others? What default assumptions do you hold about other people and their ability to be trusted? How do you convey trust in others? Do you think others are able to perceive your sense of trust?

Once you’ve done this, get an idea of your “trust bank”. Consider who in your organization or community trusts you and who you trust. Is their a relationship where you would like build trust? If so, identify one way of building trust from those suggested about and go for it. Start small. Experiment. Take notice. What does it feel like to offer trust? How does the other person react to your action of trust?

I hope you enjoying developing trust this week, and I look forward to seeing you next week as we wrap up our time on HQCs with Play!

As always, gratitude for the expertise of the following resources.

References

1. Dutton J. Energize your workplace: How to create and sustain high-quality connections at work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2006.

2. Fowler J, Christakis N.  Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: Longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study. British Medical Journal, 337, a2338; 2008.