Trust is a two-way street

I have been thinking and writing about the importance of trust for teams and teamwork quite a bit lately. So I was interested to read about a seminal trust experience at Buckman Labs.

CEO Bob Buckman had championed a knowledge-sharing culture based on trust at the company for years. Buckman’s commitment to trust was tested during a corporate strategy meeting when it became apparent that one attendee was remotely posting notes (a.k.a. mobile blogging) about the meeting to the company forum for the rest of the employees to read. When the man refused meeting organizers’ requests to stop posting, Buckman became personally involved.

A few minutes later, a break was called and Mark found himself face-to-face with Bob Buckman. Here is how Mark recalls the conversation:

Mark: Hello, sir.

Bob: Mark, I understand that you have been posting notes from the meeting on the Forum. I have to say that I have not read them, but are you sure that is such a good idea?

Mark: Do you trust me?

Bob broke into a big smile, nodded slightly and nothing further was said about Mark’s continued reporting of the events.

Both the CEO and the astute employee realized that if knowledge-sharing was truly a core value of the organization, then information about strategic planning should not be limited to meeting attendees. Both men demonstrated what article author Carol Kinsey Goman calls the “two-way street” of trust.

Trust is the foundation for collaboration. It is the conduit through which knowledge flows. Without trust, an organisation loses its emotional ‘glue’. Trust is a two-way street. Leaders must be trusted – but they also must be trusting.

Has your team’s commitment to trust been tested recently? If so, was trust reinforced, by both team members and team leaders? Even without being tested, what steps can you and your team take to overtly reinforce a commitment to trust?

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