Although it would be nice if we could “check the box” on trust and move to the next item on our list, trust is a lot like a muscle. You have to keep building it and regaining it when it is lost. Similar to exercise, when you keep practicing trust, it is much easier to maintain trust than when you take a break from it for a while and have to work on it again. Join me this week as I provide three trust-supporting behaviors that will help you maintain trust with your coalition, partnership or team.
When I first started working with coalitions, one of the most common ways to evaluate our coalition was an annual “satisfaction survey.” We would ask questions about whether people were satisfied with participating in the coalition, with their opportunity to provide feedback and their interest in continuing to participate. Then, we would review the results and do something with what we learned. If our coalition members made suggestions about how we meet or tools that we share that are most helpful to them, we would pay attention and apply that to our future work. When you take the time to ‘check in’ with your coalition and do something with what you learn, you are maintaining trust.
Pay attention to what is being said as well as what is not being said. When facilitating meetings, listen to what is important to your coalition members. Notice when they are comfortable sharing or when they are not responding to any of your questions. If you have an opportunity to talk with individual coalition members, seek to understand their perspective and how they would like to participate in the work of the coalition. Be willing to listen to multiple perspectives, including those that may differ from your own. When you practice listening, you are maintaining trust with your coalition.
Take time to read about trust and identify resources that will help you understand and practice trust. If you haven’t yet read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People or you need a refresher, I highly recommend it to help with maintaining trust. As I’ve mentioned previously Brené Brown has some excellent resources. She and her sister Barrett hosted a two-part podcast on “BRAVING trust.” I have also really enjoyed Stephen Covey’s son’s book on trust, Smart Trust. When you meet with your staff or leadership team, spend time discussing trust and learning from your colleagues about what is working to support trust as well as what could be improved. Keep practicing what you learn and you will maintain trust with your coalition, partnership or team.
So what about you? What are you going to do this week to maintain trust in your coalition?