The journey to trust

Posted in: Deborah Griffin

 ‘You’ve just got to trust him.’ The words I was dreading as it meant I had to drop the lead and let Ted show me he was worthy of this sentiment. We had been on the training, invested in the gear, risk assessed numerous fields for sheep and other hazards and now it was time to step back and let this little working cocker show me what he was capable of.  

Perhaps intangible and hard to describe, trust is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. It is a conviction that is built slowly, over a long period of time, through repeated interactions. And it is in this post pandemic world that we need new ways to build and sustain trust.  

The matter of trust emerged in the recent evaluation of hybrid working where one of the most interesting and illuminating findings described a shift in the relationship between staff and managers. A more adult relationship where staff and managers work together to negotiate the new world of work centred on a perception of mutual and reciprocal aims and purpose. One based on trust.  

For leaders who want to develop their ability to inspire trust, research by the Trust Edge Leadership Institute¹ has identified eight key qualities to focus on: 

  • Clarity - give employees a clear vision of where you want to go and what role they will play 
  • Compassion - leaders who care for more than just themselves inspire trust 
  • Character - this means choosing to do what’s right rather than what’s easy 
  • Competency - stay fresh, relevant and capable 
  • Commitment - stick with your employees in the face of adversity, and they will do the same for you 
  • Connection - cultivate strong relationships with workers. Ask questions. Find common ground. 
  • Contribution - in other words, produce results 
  • Consistency - what we do all the time shapes what others expect of us. Stay consistent amidst change, the more you will retain and grow trust. 

So as the dust of the pandemic slowly settles, maybe this is a good time to take another look at our relationships and ask ourselves where and how trust features? 

On my own personal journey through the North Somerset fields, while there have been a few bumps along the way and while I remain ever vigilant for the rogue squirrel, I have let go off the lead and have been richly rewarded (maybe surprised) as Ted has risen to the challenge.  

With a growing understanding of each other and how we work, a negotiated appreciation of where the freedom lies, as well as the red lines, plus an impressive back catalogue of predictable behaviour, our world has just got a whole lot bigger and a whole lot better.  

Please do share any thoughts in the comments. If you want to find out more on this topic, type in ‘trust’ to the Development Toolkit. 

Deborah Griffin Learning and OD Manager, Workforce Development Team, Department of Human Resources 

¹The Trust Outlook 2021

Posted in: Deborah Griffin


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