Trust building’s much like juggling alligators. Both take courage to face frightening challenges and both can cotton together beliefs into skills from our mental tools. Take trust between family members and seniors. A senior’s power of autonomy and trust is robbed if we say, “I’ll decide for you,” and trust becomes gold if we say instead, “What is your preference, and how can I support that?”
Ever feel letdown as you walk through a crowded hotel lobby at networking sessions? You nod heads with many but share high-stake breakthroughs with few.
You exchange business cards with the fury of trusted experts, and then fade contacts onto back burners of doubt. You pause to make sense of fast-flying, highly technical advances – then lose touch through unmet promises. No wonder trust is so hard to find and so easy to lose.
In a culture obsessed with measuring outcomes and boosting profitability, we often neglect trust’s potential to advance basic beliefs in a climate of transparency. We miss trust’s freedom to surpass everyday routines or connect to game-changing opportunities. How so?
Trust may revolutionize the way to boost human potential, but it gets neglected because of its inherently intangible potency.
Perhaps that’s why polls show trust as the most sought after trait at work, yet the least likely quality experienced by most. A chronic lack of trust seems most common when we lack self-awareness or fail to move past regrets. Whatever causes its lack, trust’s absence skews decisions toward gloom. So how do we awaken this illusive inner trait we most crave?
Trust as Mental Scaffolding
Leadership expert, Dan Oestreich, designed a Team Trust Survey which highlights five principles that make trust part of your mindset: inner strength, accurate beliefs, reconfigured focus, genuine connections, and sustained engagement. First, trust is evoked when we step back from the turbulence of needing to be right, and simply embrace an underlying belief in self. Oestreich calls for a spirit of humanity and life itself. Second, trust aligns assumptions to reality, when we let go of any need to gain points on one hand, or step away from fear of losing, on the other. At that point trust kicks-in and real choices become available. Third, trust shifts our focus away from misunderstandings and offers generosity, openness and support for other’s views. Fourth, trust nudges people onto the same side of struggles, and invites an appreciation for differences not found in distrust’s defensiveness. Finally, trust keeps us engaged so that we don’t drop the ball too soon – without having first put ourselves into the exchange.
You could say that trust alters the brain’s wiring away from past distortions brought about by hurts or letdowns. It also opens new mental gateways that come only with genuine forgiveness. Not bad when you consider toxins emitted from daily doubts and distrust.
Trust Strengthens Intuitive Intelligence
At the hub of intrapersonal intelligence, trust packs power alongside Howard Gardner‘s 7 other distinctive intelligences. It connects inner strengths so that we stand as sentient when confronted with fast judgments, or risk personal favor for a greater good.
Daniel Goleman names trust as part of one’s emotional intelligence. Others see it as intuition’s armor, and Einstein connected trust to truth that won him the Nobel Prize. New research shows how trust includes hunches, where soldiers in battle make fast judgment calls. How does trust impact your work?
Trust and Trustworthy Connect Mentally
Paul Zak shows how trust pervades nearly every aspect of our daily lives, and yet the neurobiological mechanisms that permit human beings to trust each other are poorly understood. Zak points out that when someone observes how another person trusts them, a hormone called oxytocin circulates in the brain and the body at higher levels. The stronger the signal of trust, the more oxytocin increases. In addition, the more oxytocin increases, the more trustworthy people become.
Leaders who Trust Share Mindsets
Trust transforms backdoor deals into rewired realities for shared opportunities. Yes, even within flawed or broken systems. Have you noticed how trust bands people together to connect sizable differences into workable alternatives to common problems?
In one such exchange with leader and researcher Lisa Haneberg, we connected a few neuro discoveries into practical workplace breakthroughs. Trust heated up shared ideas of breakthroughs in hope, passion and purpose that we both value.
Dr. Norman Doidge’s new book, The Brain that Changes Itself suggests how such new ideas impact the brain’s ability to rewire for traits such as trust. Watch trusted leaders, and you’ll see how they optimize the brain’s equipment to overcome challenging situations by relying on themselves to make a difference. It’s symbiotic.
A Matter of Choice
Before trust becomes central to any workplace, it changes individuals and impacts daily choices. Steve Jobs left us a quintessential model of how to trust in personal instincts, for example, as a way to design inventions valued by an entire society.
Job’s confident and cutting-edge decisions to know what consumers wanted, enabled links across diverse concepts such as laptops and cell phones to invent an iPad with nearly 25 million in sales in a recession year. Self-trust offered Jobs an internal compass to connect what people wanted and added personal courage to risk innovative change, in spite of similar devices they already had. It can do the same for any who trust or who inspire trust in others. How so?
One simple action from Dan Oestreich’s basic principles, or framed by Lisa Haneberg’s atypical connections, can create conditions for trust to flourish. Or as a first step, simply launch an online discourse about workplace benefits of trust. One question to trigger breakthrough opportunities may be, How could trust boost game-changing ventures here at work?
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