We all think we know what trust is—but do we? How do you know when to trust? Integrity or character of a person should tell you if they are trustworthy. I usually trust until proven otherwise. Once it’s lost, there is usually a Humpty Dumpty effect: hard to put it back together again.
Usually the behaviors that created the distrust are difficult to change, if ever, because they are complex and tedious. Once trust has been lost, what can we do to get it back—if anything? In college, one of my instructors asked me out. When I declined to go out with him, he dropped my A grade to a C. I was eighteen, too shy to complain to the dean. Was I accountable for not doing what should have been done? I think so.
Renewing trust is not just a decision—it’s a lifestyle change. There are many facets and turns in the delicate and daunting process of trust. When we lie or cheat or do bad things to others, or ourselves, we pay the ultimate price, and we lose what is most precious to us. Sometimes it takes a fall from grace to recognize the true value of a relationship. Creating trust is a big deal and needs to be treated that way.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet
What about trust in the work place? The integrity of the leadership of the organization is critical. The truthfulness and transparency of the communication with staff is also a critical factor and can promote a trusting environment. I’m fortunate to have worked at honorable institutions—The Ohio State University and Sandia National Laboratories—for their trust in me and for opportunities to grow. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the trust I have for my critique group—Penny Warner, Ann Parker, Staci McLaughlin, Colleen Casey, and Janet Finsilver—for fixing my incredibly sloppy drafts.
Love all, trust a few; Do wrong to none.
William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well