Trust is a bet in someone’s future behavior. In this video, Brenda defines trust and teaches two criteria used to judge trustworthiness.
- Can I trust you? Can you trust me? What does it even mean to trust someone? Well trust is a bet, a hope that someone will cause you no harm. For example, a teammate of yours promises he'll finish a project before the deadline. This project is your baby, your credibility is on the line. You have no guarantee that your teammate will pull through, but you choose to believe he will. That's trust.
Trust inherently means risk, so why take that risk? Why not do the project yourself so you aren't counting on anyone else? Well because the big ambitions in life require collaboration. We can't do it all alone. Daily life as we know it requires trust. We can't even go for a drive without trusting that other drivers will follow the rules that keep us all safe. To minimize the risk as much as possible, humans try really hard to gauge the trustworthiness of others.
Trustworthiness is evaluated on two primary criteria. Competency and warmth. Competency is how others decide if you have what it takes. The expertise, the reliability to come through for them. Warmth is how they decide your willingness to come through. Are you friend or foe? Will you prioritize your own interest and needs over theirs? If someone seems really warm, seems friendly, but doesn't have a clue what he's doing, we'd be unlikely to trust him with any responsibility.
We might like him or pity him, but we won't trust him. If someone has high competency but lacks warmth, we might respect or envy her, we might think wow, she knows a ton, but I'm not sure she has my best interests at heart, so I'm not sure I trust her. If someone lacks warmth and competency, we feel disdain and certainly no trust. And the quadrant we want to be in is high competency and high warmth because this is where trust happens.
Athletic teams with players who trust their coaches say our coach knows how to win, that's competency. These players also say, our coach has my back, that's warmth. By the way, those teams that trust outperform teams that don't. Even when someone has both warmth and competency, trust is situational. I have a great mechanic who I trust to fix my car, that's competency, and to charge me fairly, that's warmth.
But I'm not going to seek out medical advice from my mechanic. So now that you have a better understanding of the nature of trust, be patient with people who are slow to trust you even though you're a genuinely trustworthy person. They have no guarantee of your future behavior, and they're taking a risk on you. Also begin to see yourself through the eyes of others. On those trust dimensions warmth and competency.
Learning to trust and to be worthy of trust is one of life's most challenging and rewarding tasks.
- List the two criteria people use to evaluate trustworthiness.
- Recognize the impact of unintentional bias on trust.
- Identify the five predictors of trust.
- Choose a tactful way to share accomplishments that builds perception of competence.
- Contrast ways a shared-space team and a virtual team build trust differently.
- Break down the components of a trust-rebuilding apology.