The Basis of Trust

Last week's conversation, Ants, Control and Hierarchy, ended with a short discussion about trust:
-Trust? Why is it hard for people to trust each other?
-Evolution!
-Is it natural? Is a genetic thing? Is it about education? Is it culture and subroutines?

Since people wanted to explore this further, today's question is:
What is the basis of trust between human beings?
Here are some answers gleaned from the internet, let's see where this takes us! Click on the headlines to find the article from which the quote or synopsis was taken.


A Definition of Trust
Rousseau and her colleagues offer the following definition: "Trust is a psychological state comprising the intention to accept vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the intentions or behavior of another."[1] Similarly, Lewicki and his colleagues describe trust as "an individual's belief in, and willingness to act on the basis of, the words, actions, and decisions of another."[2]


Truth is the foundation of trust
If we have a culture that tells us that ‘it doesn’t really matter’, we will tell white lies, we will evade difficult situations, we will let people down – and they will let us down, undermining any basis of trust and any true relationship. If, on the other hand, we have a culture which values truth and holds that ‘my word is my bond’, and teaches youngsters so, then we will have a foundation for relationships that last and that don’t disappoint.


Lack of trust is a huge inconvenience
It is not only relationships that are let down, often destroyed, by mistrust. It is also that the apparent convenience of living according to vague and malleable ‘values’ is attended by the huge inconvenience of living in a society where everyone behaves that way – so that everything has to be locked, contractually sealed, withheld, defended, doubted, distrusted. The money that has to be spent on security guards, locks, surveillance, insurance, police, prisons – all this is ultimately paid for by ourselves.


Trust is not about knowing a person's previous behavior, but knowing their intentions for the situation
Perhaps we may need to look at trust differently. Perhaps we should look at trust to mean we can count on people to behave with the best intentions for the team. We may not know how the person will behave in any situation before it happens, but we can have trust that the individual will behave with the best intentions for the situation. While we may not know how the person will behave, we do know the person well enough that we know they will do what’s best for the team and not just for some special interest.
In this definition of trust we have the belief that all members of the team will work to put the team needs and interests ahead of any individual member needs or interest. I can trust that when the team needs to make a tough decision, every member of the team will decide based on what that member believes to be best for the team.

A few discussions ago, we talked about selfishness vs. working for the group. In light of that discussion, what do you think about the assertion here?


Three ingredients to trust
“Integrity is the basis of trust, which is not so much an ingredient of leadership as it is a product,” he says. “It is the one quality that cannot be acquired, but must be earned. It is given by co-workers and followers, and without it, the leader can’t function.”

If people trust you there are some observable behaviors they will exhibit.


The first is reliance. Relying implies one’s free choice to commit oneself to another person. When there’s trust in a relationship, a tremendous reliance is formed between both parties.


Another observable behavior is risk-taking. Risking implies the willingness to suffer loss in case things go wrong in a relationship. Only when people have something to lose does trust have meaning.


The last observable behavior is sharing, which implies that people give something of themselves (energy, money, time, affection or whatever) to other people and receive something in exchange that promises a mutually desirable outcome.

Trust does not exist unless it exists in you! I have never met a person who was able to trust others who didn’t trust themselves.



According to this article, there are three kinds of trust to build within a group:
Contractual Trust
Contractual trust starts with the business of relationships; this is particularly true within teams. “What do my coworkers expect of me? Can I meet those expectations? Will I be accepted?” At the onset and throughout the time of a team’s work together, members have a strong need to know what is expected of them and what they may expect in return. ... How are the tasks divided, the roles established? How are decisions made? Will I have access to information? How will meetings be facilitated? Is it okay to say, “I don’t know”?
When trust is high, team members find they are “in the know.” They have discussed their expectations and achieved agreement and alignment around them. With this understanding, people then have an opportunity not only to achieve their goals but also to perform at a high level. When expectations are not clear, team members may feel confused, anxious and vulnerable. Trust breaks down when people learn what is expected of them through hearing what they did wrong.

Keep agreements. Keeping agreements means that team members are willing to be accountable for their actions. Team members create contractual trust when they keep their agreements or renegotiate broken agreements, walk their talk, show up for meetings, complete their assignments on time, and keep their commitments and promises.

Encourage mutually serving intentions. When team members encourage mutually serving intentions rather than operate with hidden agendas, they jointly support each other in being successful. They take the time to discuss and address their needs, so there are no hidden agendas. As a result, trust is nurtured.

Communication Trust
Communicate openly with one another. Ask questions, honestly say what is on their minds, challenge assumptions, raise issues, or simply say they don’t understand and ask for help.
There were two teams. One of the teams openly shared the information they were learning in class. In fact, the members scheduled periodic feedback sessions with their teammates who were not attending the classes, to share what they learned. They became coaches for each other back on the job. As a result, the free exchange enhanced the cohesiveness, trust and performance of the entire team. The other team tried to enhance performance through competition. They viewed information as power, so instead of sharing information, they withheld it. Doors closed (literally), and people shut down. These behaviors led to a secretive and “cutthroat” working environment. The level of trust and performance within this team declined. The team that shared information built trust.
 It outperformed the one that withheld information.

Tell the truth. When we take a risk by telling the truth, we demonstrate respect for others and strengthen our trust.
Dishonesty results in a greater risk. If we fail to tell the truth, we risk losing our credibility. When team members do not tell the truth, this betrayal affects all three types of transactional trust. It is extremely difficult to manage expectations and follow through on agreements. When you can’t count on what others say, you are reluctant to commit anything to them. Furthermore, when people are not honest, others do not trust their judgment, or involve them in planning or decision making. In the end, everyone loses, and team performance suffers.

Admit mistakes. In high-trust teams, team members take responsibility for their mistakes. These teams have regular checkpoints to monitor their progress. Leaders set the tone for the team by pro- viding safe opportunities for people to admit mistakes. They work with their employees to correct their mistakes and learn from them. Leaders openly surface and deal with issues in constructive ways. Within such a safe environment, employees are more willing to take risks and be creative. And, they are acknowledged and rewarded accordingly.

Maintain confidentiality. When team members share information in confidence, they assume it will not be shared with others. We have an obligation to uphold that agreement. Doing so builds trust; failing to do so breaks trust and results in a great deal of pain and disappointment for all involved. There is no middle ground. A person’s ability to maintain confidentiality affects the degree to which others will tell him or her the truth and share information.

Speak with good purpose. To speak with good purpose means that we must have a positive attitude, understand what the team is seeking to accomplish and think highly of our fellow team members. Without these, we won’t be able to contribute much to the success of the team. When team members speak with good purpose, they speak directly to one another regarding their concerns or issues, rather than to everyone else. They talk constructively and affirmatively, and stand up for each other. Genuine support and praise for one another go a long way toward creating a trusting environment that produces results.

Competence Trust within Teams
Competence trust means being able to rely on someone to complete a specific task.
Acknowledge people’s skills and abilities
Involve others and seek their input
Help people learn skills


Random phrases that came up when I googled "foundation of trust"
-The foundation of love is trust
-Trust is a moral value that does not depend on personal experience
-We learn to trust from our parents.
-Trusting societies are more likely to redistribute resources from the rich to the poor, and to have more effective governments.
-Trust has been in decline in the United States for over 30 years ... the roots of this decline can be found in declining optimism and economic inequality.
-The benefits to be gained from such transactions originate in the willingness of individuals to take risks by placing trust in others to behave in cooperative and non-exploitative ways.
-This evidence supports the view that people in social dilemma (SD) games derive non-pecuniary utility (i) from mutual cooperation and (ii) from punishing unfair behaviour. Thus, mutual cooperation and the punishment of free riders in SD games is not irrational, but better understood as rational behaviour of people with corresponding social preferences.
-Speaking honestly, as a rule, means people know they can trust you and, as a result, they will hold you in high esteem, treat you better and respect you more.
-The world’s financial markets nearly collapsed two years ago for one reason: lack of trust. Credit, the lifeblood of the global economy, all but stopped flowing. Even big banks refused to lend to each other because they didn’t trust they would be repaid.
-We always take trust for granted. Contracts back up our deals and transactions, but who would sign them without trust in their counterparties?
-First and foremost is the knowledge that being honest is the measure of your worth.
-Honesty is a standard that has no equal.
-As an honest person, you recognise its intrinsic and ethical value and you hold yourself to that same standard and you can stand firm in the knowledge that you are not wrong.
-Speaking honestly, as a rule, means people know they can trust you and, as a result, they will hold you in high esteem, treat you better and respect you more.
-Trustworthiness requires personal character and principles. Competence alone does not create great leaders. Competence and character must go hand in hand.
-Trust is the currency of real relationships
-Clarity: the foundation of trust

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