It should be quite simple, shouldn’t it? Either you trust someone or you don’t. And in most situations, we can simply avoid, or minimise our contact with, anyone we don’t trust. But what if that ‘anyone’ is part of a team you’re responsible for?
It’s a problem raised in a recent Harvard Business Review article by Dr Wanda Wallace, President and CEO of Leadership Forum, Inc., and David Creelman, CEO of Creelman Research.
As they wisely suggest, a good place to begin in seeking a solution to the problem is to ask yourself ‘why’ you don’t trust someone. In a working environment, it could be down not so much to a real distrust of a person as a distrust of difference. Differences in our working styles, differences in the ways we express everything from our ideas to our emotions, even differences in our particular areas of expertise can all engender an uncertainty that can lead to a sense of not trusting someone.
And maybe that is something we have to learn to live with. Maybe we have to accept that, in business relationships, trust is not a simple, polarised, black and white issue. As Wallace and Creelman say: “Trust goes up and down depending on the circumstances, the task at hand, the political landscape, your sense of security on the issue, and the nature of the relationship. In this way, you think of how to increase trust not necessarily getting to 100% trust.”