In today’s organizations, a variety of buzz words and themes are circulating such as: teamwork, vision casting, mentoring, change management, and empowerment. Each of these roles and related tasks are dependent upon trust. With a low trust culture, it will be difficult or impossible to successfully accomplish any one of these, since each is heavily dependent upon trust and trustworthiness.
How Trust Works
Trust is the reliance or confidence that a person or group will meet our expectations of them, and it always begins with an element of faith and risk. The faith is that a person or organization will meet our expectations; the risk is they will not.
When people fail to meet our expectations, trust is broken and disappointment results, making it more difficult to trust in the future. As a result, trust is hard to acquire and very easy to lose. In addition, once trust is lost, it cannot be regained without once again manifesting trust. In other words, it takes trust to build trust. As a result, trust is fragile and never permanent, requiring constant attention and monitoring.
How Much Should You Trust Others?
When deciding how much to trust, we can look to the Bible. Few would question that the Christian life is built upon trust. The primary focus of over 150 references in the Bible related to the theme of trust can be summarized by the following phrase:
Be quick to trust in God and be slow to trust in people.
Two aspects of this summary need to be considered:
1. The Bible regularly instructs us to place our trust in God since He is always reliable and His truths are worthy of our confidence.
God always fulfills His own expectations; however, He does not always meet our expectations of Him, sometimes resulting in our resistance to further trust Him and His Word.
2. It is important to avoid substituting the word never for the word slow.
Why is it that we should be so cautious to trust in others? A sound biblical anthropology clearly highlights that people are corrupt by nature and not consistently trustworthy (Genesis 3; Jeremiah 17:9). However, in spite of this truth, churches, businesses, governments, families, and society could not function or survive without a basic level of trust.
Christian leaders play a strategic role in cultivating a culture where trust is corporately valued and intentionally pursued at home, church, and work. Making trust a high priority in your organization is an important leadership skill that starts with you and your interactions.
For more on this topic, read "Cultivating Trust in Your Organization" in FIT – Improving the Leadership Health of Yourself and Others!.
Jay is the Executive Director of The Center and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton. Jay brings experience in the areas of ministry assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include a B.S. in Bible, a M.Ed in Instructional Systems Design and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership.