August 1998 / Special Feature : An Issue Of Trust
Trust In Whom
by Peter Block
Emergency Room Physician
Air Traffic Controller
John Schuster on Trust
The word trust is too broad of a label, according to John Schuster. It means many things to many people.
Individuals define trust differently according to the level of risk involved with particular behaviors. There are different levels of trust an individual has depending on what they have at stake.
Lack of communication between individuals, be they managers and staff, supervisors and subordinates or two friends, can lead to a breakdown of trust. People begin misinterpreting others intentions and feel that they may have hidden agendas. For example, when management opens the books containing the financial information, often, its a huge deal, Schuster says. For organizations with a low trust culture however, even this can create more distrust, as employees look for the other set of books.
Schuster offers suggestions for building trust within an
organization. Putting management and employees on similar bonus systems
helps to create teamwork and concerted efforts within the organization.
Employees see that management places trust in the system and therefore employees
trust in the management team. When leaders fully disclose what is going
on it puts the minds of the employees at ease.
When there is no trust and a lack of communicationwhen there is a vacuumpeople start to make up your intentions, Schuster adds. This only creates more mistrust. In defining trust it is important to also define faith. One cannot have trust without having faith. As defined by Websters dictionary, faith represents the sincerity of ones intentions. To gain peoples trust you have to have faith in human beings and faith in life, Schuster says. A cynical person has given up on human beings and fails to see the sincerity in others, therefore, they dont trust people. Trust is believing and depending on others. If a person lacks honesty and reliability, it becomes very difficult for anyone to give them credit for their word.