Trust from their workforce is no longer a guarantee for many organizational leaders. The public’s exposure to senior executive greed has generated much skepticism and mistrust of authority figures. Although many contemporary leaders may still believe their responsibility to society requires them to live at a higher moral standard, it would be naïve for us to believe all such persons do so. Unfortunately, those who are reliable and truthful are likely painted with the same tarnished brush. This erosion of trust for those leading in public office as well as private business raises the question, “has trust become a ‘four-letter’ word?”
Trust is the new gold. Equally valuable, but for too many companies and
too many leaders not nearly so obviously worth the effort. Larry Prusak
In his Harvard Business Review blog, The One Thing That Makes Collaboration Work, Prusak touts trust as the collaboration clincher over incentives, technology, roles, missions and structures. I echo his sentiments and use the Collaboration Triangle below when individuals or client groups such as management and union need to rebuild trust.
When people are willing to work together to rebuild their relationships and they agree to operate with openness and honesty, understanding emerges from the truths shared. Listening for understanding is one of the subtlest forms of respect and enables the necessary forgiveness for past wrongdoings whether they were perceived or real. Taken one step at a time, this return trip to trust has never failed me. Trust can be earned back even after the gravest betrayals. Over the past 25 years I have had the pleasure of witnessing this experience many times.
What relationship in your life could improve with an injection of trust? Are you willing to step forward to rebuild this trust? What truth would you need to share with the other in order to begin again?