10 How to build trust: Why it will be our greatest asset.
Dear Transformers, dear Co-Creators, dear creators of a new time!
You are now at a point on your journey to real transformation that you want to
show yourself to the world. To go out and act – that is the next task. We have
emerged from the earlier stages of the transformative journey, cleansed and
clarified. We are back now – this is the “Showing Up” I spoke of in the last
article. It is the return to community – the family, the circle of friends, the
department, the company. Those who have learned so intensively and now bring
profound, new insights with them want to take that out into the world.
Many now ask, “But how?” And I then like to talk about one thing first: trust.
The basis for everything that follows now is that people trust you.
How do you create that?
How to build trust – that becomes our first big question. Where there is no trust,
there will be no real productivity, no ideas, no top performance. If you don’t feel
trust, you stay in ego mode, you only have the alternative “Fight” or “Flight”,
fight or flight. The so-called sympathetic nervous system is activated, amygdala
sends, the alarm system of our brain. Thus, people remain in isolation and in
competition with each other.
But at present, the situation in the world often seems isolated and uncertain to us
anyway. In our community, we want to create something completely different, a
trusting relationship in which people can flourish and perform together.
Why psychological safety is our secret weapon
Psychological safety is a term that has become increasingly popular in recent
years. It was coined by Harvard business professor Amy Edmondson. She has
worked extensively with companies, including a two-year study at Google that
looked at what makes the most successful teams stand out. Edmondson says it’s
“a belief shared by team members that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-
taking” – that’s psychological safety. And that trust is the foundation for
transformation and development.
That’s why you will create a Trusted Space in your world, a Safe Space where
people can show up – without fear. But I also call this “BRAVE SPACES”.
Places where we feel safe to open up, to give and take feedback, to learn to
make confident decisions under pressure and uncertainty without fear of being
reprimanded. That takes courage, too. That’s why I say “brave”.
And those who dare to do this can achieve what is known as Authentic Relating
- also a term from modern organizational psychology – the undisguised, honest,
good relationship with one another. We listen, we are open and do not
immediately classify everything in friend-foe schemes, we perceive each other
as whole people. We trust each other and our superiors in the meeting room.
We are leaders who want to produce followers, not as subordinates, but in the
sense of other like-minded people who also share our idea of good, organic
transformation and carry it into the world. This can only be done with trust.
We are experiencing a time when many no longer feel trust in their social
leaders, especially not in politics. Some respond by retreating, becoming
contrarians, preppers, believing in a conspiracy of the powerful. Others look for
an enemy, take sides in contemporary conflicts, demonize the other, or simply
blanket “them up there.” This is binary simplicity, the path of the simple
solution. It can never be the right one in a complex world.
We are establishing a new way of talking to each other
In the High Trust Teams, which you can create as a counterbalance, people
listen to each other, even if it hurts. Criticism is possible, is presented fairly, is
accepted and used for the greater good. Different points of view are allowed to
coexist. As a role model, you can listen, give feedback, be a role model and thus
keep the team together and inspire it.
Today I would like to give you three tools that can help you do this.
The most important tools for creating psychological safety are
Mirroring: Repeat in your own words what someone says. “It sounds like….
What I heard you say is…”
Positive projection: Try to think in a positive direction. “It makes sense to me
that…” or “I imagine you feel/want/need…”
Revealing: Show others how it can work, also share your own inner state, your
feelings, ideas…. Like this: “When I hear you, I feel…” or “I understand you
If you look at just one, these tools might feel unfamiliar or strange. But used
together, as a matter of course, they can easily lead difficult conversations to a
better outcome. Because with tools like these, we begin to build rapport by
sharing what we understand, what resonates with us, rationally and emotionally.
I’ll also give you a formula for how to build trust.
Let’s take another look at this from your perspective: How do I become a trusted
leader? I see four criteria for this, which are also four beliefs that guide us
humans when we want to assess others. In a positive, fruitful relationship, they
sound like this:
- “I believe that you mean well by me.”
The ego is strong and always interferes, as we have already discussed in
previous articles. In this day and age, it is very easy for people to focus entirely
on themselves. Empathy and empathy seem to cost too much time and energy.
But they are worth it: I can only place my trust in someone who I think has good
intentions towards me.
- “I believe that you do what you say.”
We humans have a seventh sense for whether someone is credible or not.
Authenticity is the key to this. I also say “walk the talk” – we should practice
what we preach. I can only trust someone who I think will do what they say.
- “I believe that you know what you are talking about.”
We often fall victim to “experts” who only have superficial knowledge and pass
on knowledge that they don’t actually have. But I can only trust someone who I
think has real expertise and is therefore credible.
- “I believe that you are committed to the big picture.”
In our society, we are trained at an early age to be lone fighters. The elbow
society and career paradigms of the industrialization of the last century are
deeply rooted in our economy. Anyone who really wants to get ahead in the
new, cooperative world we stand for is also interested in the well-being of the
team and not just their own advancement.
Take a look at the so-called “trust equation” in our graphic. The Harvard
economist David H. Maister came up with it. In his bestseller “The Trusted
Advisor” (with Charles H. Green and Robert M. Galford), he says that this trust
equation is the “cornerstone” of any good practice. It is a beautiful expression of
everything we have talked about today. Credibility, competence, authenticity
and empathy are your assets in building trust, but the team becomes the
denominator of this equation – you need to have the success of the big picture in
mind to maximize trust.
I am convinced that we unconsciously scan our fellow human beings in these
four fields anyway and create a trust score, so to speak, on the basis of which
we then place a lot or little trust in the person. That is why it is invaluable if you
can become aware of this process.
Then you can become a real force of the new era and set an example for the
transformation that our world needs now. Become a trusted leader!