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How can we build, rebuild and heal trust?

Two hands grasped together

This week is going to be short and sweet, as I am recovering from a head cold. My hope is that this information is as meaningful for you as it has been for me. 

Trust: it’s complicated. But does it have to be? 

In my quest to continue to find theories and tools to explore trust differently, I came across Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei’s crash course in trust: how to build it, maintain it and rebuild it.

I was struck by the simplicity, but also how quickly I was able to start to diagnose past trust issues more acutely than I had before.  

According to Frei, trust can be broken down into three basic components – Authenticity, Logic, and Empathy.  She goes on to explain that, “If you sense that I am being authentic, you are much more likely to trust me. If you sense that I have real rigor in my logic, you are far more likely to trust me. And if you believe that my empathy is directed towards you, you are far more likely to trust me. When all three of these things are working, we have great trust. But if any one of these three gets shaky, if any one of these three wobbles, trust is threatened.”

Let’s better understand each of these, along with tips for how to strengthen the wobble:

Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

Of all three this is the most common wobble and often the easiest to remedy. I firmly believe at the end of the day people want to be heard, seen, and know they add value. Empathy allows us to step into all three of these. 

Remember that your intention to care is not enough. People need to see and feel that you have their best interest at heart as well.  

Start today – Notice when and how you get distracted when talking with someone. Try to remove those distractions. Put down the phone, push away from your desk, and give that person your full attention. We know that when someone feels heard they are more likely to trust you. Need more information? Check out our Manager Minute on listening.

Logic: A particular way of thinking. 

It’s either the quality of your logic, or it’s your ability to communicate the logic. I don’t have time here to help you with your quality of logic. But to help with communication, may I introduce you to the brilliant Idea Whisperer and Master Communicator, Tamsen Webster. We’ve had the opportunity to work with Tamsen on a number of projects and I’ve yet to meet someone who can help you communicate your message more effectively.  She has a ton of great content through her blog and videos. View one of my favorite tips about persuasion here.

Authenticity: The proven fact that something is legitimate or real. 

Are you who you say you are? This is one of the most common values I hear people say is important to them and it is the quickest one we can smell when it doesn’t exist. This is the trickiest of the three because it requires you to do the work to say who am I, what is important to me, and am I showing up in a way that is consistent. 

What we know is most of us are not as self-aware as we think we are. What can we do? 

One place to start is to identify your values. What are your non-negotiables? Most importantly what are you doing or not doing to live into those values? How would someone know that is important to you?

For example, one of my values I call “Plurpose” or Play with Purpose. Yes, I made up a name. This value strongly influences everything from how I show up, what I wear, how I design learning experiences down to the brand design of our company. 

What is a value that influences you?

Now what? Think about the relationships in your life that might have less trust than you might want. Which of the components might be wobbly? What can you do to secure it? 

I look forward to hearing your insights!

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