Hi, everyone! Hope you’re all well in this unprecedent time.
Today I was asked by the incredible Michael Landers about some specifics of how does trust builds with me. This is not a simple question, even though we do it daily without noticing it. So, as many of you may know, I’m a very, very logic person. I don’t usually feel or think the same way most people do, and there are suspicions about me being on the autistic spectrum (mostly Aperger’s). That said, you may wonder how many times I had to think how to behave. How many times I observed, how many times I tried, how many times I failed. During this journey, I came up with a “framework” on how to deal with trust, and, as it might be useful for someone, even if only to provoke some thoughts, here it goes:
Taking the first step
As most people have noticed, trust is a two-way relationship, and, as in every two-way relationship, there is the dilemma of starting it. It is the same dilemma of wanting to start working, but every job description asks for experience. So, what works for me is: if I want to build trust, I start building it. I take the first steps, and I start to open myself first. This way, not only other people will feel more welcome (at least usually), but I also express my intention, and this, alone, would be enough for a quick start. It can be as simple as sharing some information. Even small talk would do, in some cultures. Just start it yourself, and things will follow.
Expect the best, be prepared for the worst
This is kind of my moto, and it applies very well here. Most people are good, or, at least, want good things happening. Giving people some credit from the beginning is great way to quickly build trust. Of course, it may fail sometimes, but it takes us to the next point:
What are the real risks on trusting someone? And what are the benefits?
You can be one of these people afraid of trusting others. You might be scared of betrayal or have some strong opinions on people and reliability. That’s OK, there’s no right or wrong here, but risk assessment is a must. What bad can trusting someone do to you? And what good will it bring? Most of the time, the balance is positive, because trust enables connection, and connection brings not only productivity, ease of mind, etc., about who are we with. It also brings us joy. It can bring us purpose. It mostly does worth it, and something that helps balancing it is…
Trusting is not a “whole package”
It’s perfectly fine to trust people for some things, but not others. The more you know people, the more you observe their behavior, the best you’ll know not only who to trust, but better on what to trust. I have friends I wouldn’t work with. Some of them I wouldn’t lend money. That’s OK, we are still great friends, and we support each other. Also, I know some people won’t trust me for some things, and I’m cool with that. No one will be a hundred percent trustable to you (and if someone tries to be, I personally recommend you to be suspicious, because it most probably unveils either into deception or a toxic relationship), and there are many aspects of our life for people to be trusted (like money, relationships, work, reliability, etc.).
It really does. Not only knowing your strengths and flaws help you to assess on what you can be trustable, it also brings you insights on what you do expect from people, and what works with you when building trust. Knowing this is an eye-opener, I might say. It enables you to clearly communicate what you value, what are your expectations, while also enabling self-regulation of expectations (or, at least, knowing when you’re expecting too much). I can share that there are times I’m not really reliable for doing some tasks on time, and I have a myriad of reasons to be this way, and so, I don’t expect people to always be reliable and to fit their schedules and put their efforts on tasks that are not truly theirs. If it happens to me, I might be disappointed, but I won’t take it personally, because everyone has its reasons. The same might be true for you, but you may also be the person that expects full commitment and feel betrayed if someone fails to deliver something promised. Knowing your triggers and expectations help you manage yourself. Communicating it enables more profound trust.
Communication is a thing, big time
The last positive effect I want to bring about trust is really important for me: being open avoids misinterpretation. It really hurts when someone thinks I’m doing something to hurt, or that I have a bad intention. Communicating in an open way builds the trust and the knowing I won’t do anything to harm or to hurt. Being open shows I’m not evil, and it helps even for people I didn’t have had contact with, but observed my actions, to see it.
If you read that far, it means you at least trust my capacity to thinking, and it’s OK to disagree and discuss in the comments if you want. I hope it brings you some good!
Also, huge thanks for the SAP Academy for Engineering for giving me this opportunity to rethink and grow.