Learning and Trust LO13338

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
22 Apr 97 02:59:16 EDT

Replying to LO13293 --

Sb: Learning and Trust LO13293

Tim asks some excellent questions regarding trust.

"Trust is a really seductive idea to introduce into any situation because
it is so grand and noble a concept. The thing we forget about trust is
that by its nature it is very fragile. It doesn't take a bad person to
break a trust. Even the most trustworthy person lapses. And, it doesn't
take a lot to break a trust. Since trust is mostly thought of as an
absolute, nearly any lapse destroys it completely. "I just can't TRUST him

Because trust is so fragile, I think it's not right to put so much weight
on it. I trust my neighbor to feed my dog while I am away. I do not
trust crumbled socialist dictatorships to know where all their nuclear
weapons are. There is a difference.

Whether in love or in work, people value safety and reconciliation. I
feel safe here because I know with certainty that I am cared for. If
there is a problem, I know there is a will to be reconciled because the
relationship is valued on both sides."

The material referred specifically to trustworthiness of leaders, and in
that realm many of these issues are moot. In particular, people said that
what they meant by trustworthy leader was mostly determined by whether the
leader 'did what they said they would do.' This may be very similar to
your notion of credibility. It certainly removed any ambiguity about the
meaning of the term.

I also do not find in a leadership situation that trust is particularly
fragile at least if one communicates certain things. If people understand
that a leader operates consistently from a well-understood set of values
-- whether people like the values or not -- then they trust that leader.
therefore one of the leader's goals must be to communicate the consistent
values, and in controversial situations communicate how the values drove
them to a certain decision. The decision may then be questioned, and in
fact even how the values were interpreted may be questioned.
Nevertheless, people will continue to trust the leader if they can see
that he or she continues to operate by those values.

 Rol Fessenden

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>