This past Saturday I had the chance to be a part of an all-day Executive MBA class. For part of the day, we talked about trust in organizations. Trust is one of the major factors in how well we function as a team. The higher the trust, the more likely we are to work well together, make better decisions and ultimately love our job.

As the lecture was happening, we talked about “the trust filter.” Every time there is a situation that requires trust, we process it through our “trust filter.” From my perspective, there are three basic things in that filter that impact whether we will trust the person or not. Think about these:

  • Past experiences. Every time we have to trust someone, we consider our past experiences with them. Were they truthful and did they deliver what they said they would when they said they would? We subconsciously ask ourselves, “What was my past experience like when I worked with them?”
  • Current realities. As we process trust, our current realities become a part of the filter. For instance, if a project has a significant impact on my job situation or the organization, I want to work with people that are trusted at the highest level. However, if the project is somewhat insignificant, my desire for trusted individuals may matter less. You current reality affects the level of trust you need from those you are working with.
  • Future plans. Bottom line: if my future plans may be impacted by a person and I do not trust them, I will be less likely to work with them. So, we may both be working for the same promotion. If that is the case, my future plans will be impact my trust levels for others.

These are basic thoughts and are not complete, but I think we can see how they affect our trust in certain situations. As you lead, what other things are a part of your trust filter?

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