I wish that everyone saw me as I see myself; someone who is worthy of their complete trust. Sadly, I'm not a perfect leader, and like all leaders, have been in situations where people don't trust me fully.
Not one of us is perfect. The truth is that in educational, non-profit and community settings there are people who don't know us or our programs, well enough for them to trust. As full time, part time, paid or volunteer leaders of programs we need to invest our time in developing and maintaining the trust of others.
What can we as leaders do to develop trust?
Educational research has shown for decades that trust is important in families, communities and the workplace. The Four Distinctions of Trust outlined by Charles Feltman in the Thin Book of Trust summarize in a meaningful way what it means to be trusted. Being trusted can mean that others see sincerity, reliability, competence and care. Our trusting relationships with others matter. What we do matters too!
I've heard a friend say multiple times that we often judge others based on their actions and ourselves on our intentions. In Paul Browning in the International Journal of Leadership in Education offers some of the first research into how to build trust in educational settings. He identified a set of behaviors that build trust for us to consider. My goal is to use this list (see image) as a guide for how I can grow trust. I believe all leaders can use these behaviors to develop trust with others who don't trust us, for whatever reason.
What can we do to build trust with someone? If you have a success story of developing trust I'd love to see it in the comments section. I'd also love to see a few people asking for the insight of others!
I ask that in the comments we talk about things that build trust, rather than stories of how it is lost.
-- Mark Haugen, Extension educator, regional 4-H youth development programs
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