Creating the foundations of trust

 “Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.”
Charles Feltman


As leaders we can find ourselves taling alot about trust and how important it is but what do we actually know about trust? More importantly, what do we know about building trust?

These questions were on my mind when I found Brené Brown’s B.R.A.V.I.N.G model. This powerful model is a way of remembering the elements that make up trust.

Today I want to share her model with you because during this month we are going to dig deep into trust and how it works.

Trust is built during small moments.

I believe when we think about building trust, we tend to think of grand gestures and dramatic actions. Yet how many of those dramatic actions do you demonstrate each day? Probably none on most days. Right?

If that’s true, how is it that your friends trust you? What did you do to gain their trust?

It’s the small moments which count. Lots of small moments. Consistent small moments.

Trust is built by the friend who is always willing to stop what she’s doing and listen to you. Or the person who makes sure you don’t miss out on the good things, whether it’s a chocolate or a career opportunity. It’s built by the person who lets you cry on their shoulder then picks you up and gets you going again. It’s built by the person who keeps secrets when you ask them to.

So, remember that. Trust isn’t dramatic. It’s quiet and it’s sincere.

Let’s look at Brené Brown’s acronym for remembering the seven elements of trust. She uses the word ‘BRAVING.’

Boundaries: Boundaries are how you define what’s OK and what’s not. You need to respect each other’s boundaries even if you don’t understand why they are there. For example, your boundary may be your personal life which you choose not to disclose. You won’t trust someone who keeps asking you about it, will you?

Reliability: This means knowing you can count on someone to do what she says she will do. You know the secret will be kept or that she’ll do what she promised, every time.

Accountability: As Brené says, this is when you own your mistakes, apologise, and make amends.

Vault: This is important because it refers to your privacy. You know what you say will be kept in confidence. It’s as secure as a bank vault.

Integrity: You learn to trust someone when you see them do the right thing instead of the easy thing, time and time again. Integrity is about sticking to your values and not being swayed by money, convenience or social connection.

Non-judgment: When you really need to call on someone you can trust, you’re often not in the best frame of mind. Your thinking is unclear, your emotions are high and you’re asking for help because you’re in a bad position. This element is about finding someone who will give help without asking for explanations or judging you for either your circumstances or your choice of solution.

Generosity: People don’t always use the right words and some days they’re under an emotional cloud, so they don’t always do what they should. While generosity is about giving freely, when it comes to trust it’s about being generous in your assumptions – thinking the best about people and assuming the best reasons for their actions.

These are the seven elements of trust. If you’d like to hear Brené Brown speak about trust and explore her B.R.A.V.I.N.G modle in more detail, watch her SuperSoul Session presentation.

In the meantime, consider the small actions you take each day and how they affect the trust levels of the people around you. Are you BRAVING each day?

Do you think there are any more elements to trust? Do we need a different model?

Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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