Trust underpins collaboration
Trust is defined (in the Oxford living dictionary) as “firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something”.
This definition neatly highlights three of the four elements of trust, but leaves one out. In no particular order, the first is someone is honest and truthful, that is, they won’t lie, hide things away or operate from a hidden agenda. In other words, they are open and transparent– they are believable.
Second, they can be relied upon to keep their word. When they agree to do something, they will do it.
Third, they have the ability to do what they say they will do, so they will not only do something but do it to the required standard.
The missing one from the definition is they demonstrate care and concern for other people.
How do we develop trust in someone? One key element is conversation. We get to know someone through speaking with them and developing, both consciously and unconsciously, a sense that this person is believable and they care for others, not just themselves.
The second key element is track record. We see how well someone does what they say they will do and that the quality of what they do is to the right level.
Both of these routes to developing trust take time.
We can shorten this time immeasurably when, if something goes wrong, the other person acts in a timely manner and in our best interest, to correct it. They are demonstrating all four elements in one go.
Responding to something going wrong in the right way is a powerful means for building trust.