Trust. What does that word really mean? We use it all the time, both in a business sense and in a personal sense.
You trust that your boss has your back. You trust that your spouse would never intentionally hurt you.
Professor Glen Urban from MIT breaks trust out into three aspects.
- Confidence - I believe what you say
- Competence - I believe you have the skills to do what say
- Benevolence - I believe you’re acting on my behalf
If you are in sales or running a company or dealing with customers in any way, do you need all three of those checked off to be comfortable? If I'm buying a car I may believe the car salesman, and I may believe he can match the price I want or whatever, but I will never, ever believe he is acting in my best interest. Does he care as long as I buy the car? Do I care as long as I get the deal I want?
If you are a boss do your employees believe you are acting on their behalf? Does anybody really believe that their employer will act on their behalf when the chips are down? Or do we all expect to get thrown over the side with 2 weeks severance, if we are lucky?
Your shady uncle may be a mobster and crook, but he might be somebody you can always count on to have your back. Do you trust him?
I thought that was a really interesting way to think about trust. It's more complicated than the simple idea of trustworthiness that we often default to.