Don’t Just Build Trust, Let Trust Build!

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A common goal among most teams, co-workers, and really any group is to build trust. Trust is absolutely essential in the collaboration, productivity, and health of that very group.  In fact, I’m coming out of a season in my organization where “full trust” has been scarce, but where more recently trust is a value that everyone seems to be committed to work towards and build.  Therefore, I cannot overemphasize the value and importance of building trust.

HOWEVER… It hit me today that often in an effort to meet this lofty goal of building trust among peers within our organizations that we miss out on an unseen opportunity.  When we say, “I’m trying to build their trust,”  It’s a very active and “in-control” notion.  We work, earn, and gain the trust of another through effort, loyalty, results or any other acts of “proof” which attempt to show that our trust is worthy. I would even argue that we do this because it’s often easier for us to do the work of trying prove our trustworthiness than actually giving our trust freely to those relationships  (work, family, friends) in our life which need it most.

I have done my fair share of rock and ice climbing and there is no greater exhibition of trust than that.  I’m fully trusting in the structural integrity of my gear and in my partners ability to belay me safely.  It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen them successfully belay someone, because my life is in their hands, I MUST be willing to give them my full trust before I ever start my climb up that wall.  In fact, the very act of me climbing has little or nothing to do with how much trust I’ve earned with them and everything to do with how much I trust them.

Today, the phrase “Let Trust Build” kept ringing in my head as I realized the importance of my need to stop working so hard to earn trust, and to simply give my trust to others in order to allow them to build into me. When we look at or think about all the circles of people in our lives, we can quickly and easily notice how different they are from us, but we must remember it’s in these very differences that we have an opportunity to learn and grow from “what they have” and “we don’t.”  Unfortunately, we will never fully reap the benefit of their strengths and gifts in our individual lives if we do not give them our trust first.  By choosing not to trust them, we will deny and miss out on everything they have to offer us, and instead we move through our organization blinded by our own pride and perception of “what we have” (and inherently and arrogantly think that we don’t need).  In fact, they probably even trust us (because, remember, we worked so hard to earn it) and now they are gleaning from our strengths.  In contrast however, our ears, eyes, and minds are turned off to them and what they offer because of our unwillingness to trust them…  Who do you think will come out ahead in the long run?

I know that it’s easier, safer, and often times more self-affirming to earn another person’s trust, however to give your trust to another (with all its risks) offers far more rewards and growth.

Don’t just work to build trust, Let Trust Build!

Who in your life are you not giving your trust?  What strengths do they have that you’re “shutting the door” on?  What’s one easy and active step you can take to Give Them Your Trust?  Try it!  Let Trust Build.