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Trust is the foundation to transition


This week I have been presented with a word which I believe one should not underestimate the importance of. We talk about change extensively and the existential impact within primary care, and the conversations tend to steer towards behaviour, and mind-set, and yet we need to peel back that layer a little further to understand the rationale behind the behaviours, and there it surfaces itself….Trust.


As cited by CMI; 85% of seniors, managers, and leaders within an organisation believe that trust is vital to an organisations success. The issue is the remaining 15% who are less trusting or completely distrusting, can cause enough disruption to an organisation and its progress, or even its long term success.

So is this 15% what we must focus our attention on?


What is trustworthiness?

A definition of trustworthiness is that a mixture of credibility, reliability and emotional connection over the perception of self-interest. Building trust is about being emotionally intelligent and understanding the other in which you wish to give and gain their trust, it’s about personal relationships, and situations in which each contact is made and trust is forged. It is never directly about the situation, but how people feel in that situation, how did they come away feeling, what are their perceptions of you and how you handled yourself in that situation, and how you directly impacted them in that situation.


While it is imperative to build trust in order to develop and grow, there can be a adverse consequence of high trust relationships, that one should be mindful of, and this is because excessive trustworthiness can lead to being characterised by discrimination in favour of the trusted group member(s) and against outsiders; trust can therefore lead to discrimination in both legitimate and illegitimate terms.


How does one get the balance right? How does one earn trust from another who historically did not trust them? Or how does one earn trust back because they have temporarily lost this trust and need to regain it?


There are six traits to look for as to whether someone may be likely to trust you, and this does not directly link to your attributes, but theirs. Though insight of such traits will enable you to make quick assessment on how hard you are likely to have to work to win someone’s trust.


1. Relationships, how this person forms and maintains lasting social relationships, some form relationships to become dependent on others, and some form such close relationships because they are calculating, manipulative, though the majority of people form healthy long relationships purely for the commitment to engagement and stimulation.

2. Immaturity, poor self-control can lead to distrust, when adults behaviour slips into that of per petulant teenager, displaying characteristics of fragile, over-sensitive, restless, moody; moving from arrogant cockiness to demoralised helplessness in minutes.

3. Machiavellians, the rebellious charmer who pays little attention to rules and regulations. If both bright and good looking, their seductive charm can make them lethal. They can be superficial, glib, flippant and inconsistent. But they are also all things to all people.

4. Angry and negative, those who are in the blame-game for all their misfortunes, and can only see the world as unjust and often feel victims on many levels. This person will generally report a history of negativity, and come across as passive aggressive in their behaviours.

5. Self-belief, those with this recognise that self-awareness is a key indicator of mental health and adjustment, being confident enough to ask another view of you, and accepting it is quite something in terms of emotional intelligence, but there are a vast number of people in the workplace who have a strange self-image and issues around self-esteem, and they could not ask another for their view, for fear of what they may hear, so they avoid such situations.

6. Inflexibility and rigidity, rigid people are deeply change averse and such fear drives them to become strictly routinely, they tend not to adapt well, unless you make things abundantly transparent to them, as they have an intolerance of ambiguity.


Once you have and understanding of the traits above, applied to the individuals you are working with, you can continue to develop trust by creating clear lines of communication, engagement in discussions, and enabling involvement in decisions, ensuring that the human element is considered alongside clear meaningful data/analytics.

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