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A Creed for High Trust Relationships | Trust Pt. 2

In order for us to work together to fulfill the great commission together, we must trust each other. Trust is a necessary condition for stable cooperation and communication. The difference between a high- and low-trust relationship is very noticeable. Consider how trust affects communication. In high-trust relationships, you can say the wrong thing and people still get your meaning. In relationships that lack trust, you can be very careful and precise but still misunderstood.

To build a trust in our own cultural context is not always easy, but it is even more difficult in a multi-cultural situation. When the trust level is high among leaders, they will be able to express openly their feelings and thoughts and to discuss their opinions and ideas. But it is difficult to work with someone who will not be honest or is suspicious of everything they see or are told.

The burden of creating trust rests on the one wanting to be trusted, not the one being asked to trust. We don’t command trust; we earn it. Trust exists when people are trustworthy. Patrick Lencioni, in his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, identifies five elements that are critical for teamwork. The number one element of dysfunction on teams is a lack of trust. This is evident when leaders cannot be honest with each other, or vulnerable. The number two element is fear of conflict. This causes leaders to maintain artificial harmony so they can’t have unfiltered discussions.

So how do we establish trust? Trust begins with self-trust that comes from Internal Integrity. Integrity is like the root of a tree. It’s not visible most of the time, but absolutely vital to the nourishment, strength, stability and growth of the tree. Those who lack integrity internally will not integrate well with others externally. We cannot integrate in relationships or in an organization without internal soundness. So, the ability of a leader to establish trust with followers depends on his or her internal integrity. That integrity bears fruit in consistent behavior.

Here is a set of creeds that will help us build trust in relationships.

  • I will choose to trust you until you give me a reason not to.
  • I will assume you have good motives even when you disagree with me.
  • I will be proactive in being clear rather than making assumptions.
  • You can expect me to be self-disclosing about who I am, where I am going, what I am thinking and about the challenges that I have.

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