3 Principles For Professionals to Boost Their Trust In Others—So That Their Team Benefits

Aaron Walker
Nov 5, 2021
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” -Ernest Hemingway

Have you ever thought about how much trust goes into a jar of honey?


When I taste the earthy sweetness from a jar of fresh, local honey, I like to think about the remarkable efforts behind it. If a beekeeper wants to achieve the satisfaction of a harvest, he has to trust several aspects of the operation. He must trust the equipment to keep him safe, the bees to do their jobs, and the process to yield results.

So many businesses and organizations suffer from a trust deficit. Leaders often feel frustrated when team members don’t seem invested in the work or the mission. Meanwhile, they feel overwhelmed with too many tasks on their list.

If you find yourself identifying with situations like this, you might have a lack of trust within your organization. Members of a team, even its leaders, need to recognize the importance of learning to trust the other teammates.

In The Speed of Trust, author Stephen M. R. Covey tells of a coaching decision he made during a children’s flag football game. One player, Anna, who worked hard to keep up with the experience level of her teammates, needed to make an important play in the final moments of a game. Though he could have substituted a player, Covey kept to his decision to give each member of the team a fair and equal amount of time on the field. Because he knew Anna could find the courage and make the play, she had the opportunity to pull a runner’s flag just before he could score. Her confidence to stop that opposing player stemmed from Covey’s encouragement, and their team won the championship!

In this way, trusting the player led to greater organizational trust within the team—and that principle translates directly to our businesses.

A mastermind group allows you to practice the skill of trust within a community of goal-focused professionals. If you want to experience the power of mutual accountability, visit our website or apply to join one of our mastermind groups online.

Do You Extend Trust?

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

  -Ernest Hemingway

Covey explains that actively trusting others builds upon the qualities of being a trustworthy person. Wise leaders then extend trust to those around them.

As a leader, you can leverage trust for the benefit of everyone. No one likes to feel like an extra cog in a machine. People want to have the assurance of their purpose as part of the group. When you offer trust to your team members, their confidence in you also grows. Your faith in their character and abilities exhorts them as they realize that you value their contributions.

Trust also allows for deeper collaboration. You can feel the energy and optimism in companies that employ trust among their members. When employees feel safe and confident sharing ideas with their team and leaders, a healthy sense of cooperation shapes the workplace. Ideas thrive in environments of trust!

Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “The people, when rightly and fully trusted, will return the trust.” Extending trust doesn’t mean you operate blindly and allow others to take advantage of their freedom. You need accountability and wisdom.

Trust always involves risk. Many leaders make decisions based on the fear that they may not be able to trust their team members. If you withhold trust simply due to the risk factor, you will lose opportunities to see growth for yourself, your team members, and your organization.

How can leaders better cultivate this skill? Here are three aspects to think about as you consider the levels of trust within your organization.

3 Principles to Grow Your Trust in Others

Think about how these aspects and pitfalls in the area of trust affect the disciplines of your own life:

1. Avoid Giving a False Sense of Trust

As Covey explains, a false trust gives responsibility without the authority or resources to accomplish the task. Unfortunately, I see so many business leaders “delegate” an important task to an employee, only to spend hours double-checking all of their work and micromanaging their performance. Do you think the employee actually feels trusted in this situation?

If you’ve given someone a responsibility, give them the tools and encouragement they need... and let them get the task done. Your processes will move more quickly, your organization will accomplish more, and you will be free to lead in ways that only you can.

2. Be The First to Give Trust

We’ve established that trust in others inspires them to trust you back. But trust also requires risk. As the leader, you have to make the first move. Take a risk by showing more trust than you’ve shown before, and watch how your team members respond.

If you feel frustrated that subordinates don’t meet expectations, consider how you can help their progress by demonstrating trust. Nine times out of ten, the problem underneath underperforming employees is the lack of a trusting relationship with their direct oversight.

Covey contends that employees lack trust in their leaders because “senior leaders don’t trust their people, and this distrust gets reciprocated.” People reflect their treatment. Thankfully, you have the power to break this vicious cycle in the weeks ahead.

3. Take a Look at Your Parenting Style

Yep, I went there. Your relationship with your kids gives an uncomfortable amount of insight into how you treat other people in general. A wise person once said that you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat those who can’t do anything for them, and you can tell a lot about a society by the way it treats its kids.

If you have kids, observe your parenting style. How do you communicate? Do you look for ways to extend trust to your children, or do you hover? Or perhaps worse, are you disengaged from them completely? Examine the outcomes you see as a result of your parenting style; you’ll probably see just how much trust factors into your children’s behavior.

I know that I’ve said things that feel difficult to hear and work through, but it’s because of how much value trusting others can bring to your life—and the lives of the people you love and work with. So, let’s end on a more uplifting note:

“In this world, there was nothing scarier than trusting someone. But there was also nothing more rewarding.”

   -Brad Meltzer

As you work on building trust throughout all the facets of your life, you'll need other professionals to challenge you to reach higher and deeper. Reach out to us at our website and apply to join one of our mastermind groups online.


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