What Does it Mean to Trust?

Ron Macklin & Michelle Mosolgo

What Does it Mean to Trust?

Episode 10: What Does it Mean to Trust?

Michelle asks Ron: What is trust?

Ron says he holds “trust” in two ways. One way is a noun, and one is a verb. With the noun, you may be able to trust them based on your past experience with them, and with the verb, you’re choosing to trust someone even if you don’t have that history. Ron says trust is how he holds that someone will act and perform in the future.

How do you handle a situation where you’re meeting someone for the first time, and others have told you about that person, whether they are trustworthy or not?

Ron says this type of information is gossip, not the truth, because it comes through their own filters and interpretation. While that person may be trying to help, he tries to remember they have a Scared Self too, and he needs to create that person for himself.

Michelle shares a story about her time working as a recruiter. Even though she’d heard some gossip about one of the candidates she wanted to hire, she decided to give him a chance. She trusted herself to make her own assessment of him, and she trusted him to do the job well. The first step is believing in them.

What happens when someone breaks your trust? While you may be upset with them, you may be even more upset with yourself for choosing to trust them in the first place. This situation can be even more challenging. Michelle asks Ron: How do you deal with that?

Ron says the first step is to notice those feelings in himself. When you allow yourself to feel it and pay attention, then you have the space to run experiments and move forward. If you don’t bring it to the surface, it feels even worse.

Michelle goes back to another story about her time in the recruiting position and shares that, for a while, she didn’t trust herself to make a good decision when it came to hiring someone.

Ron says that many people grow up with a flawed model of performance, needing to get a 90% or higher on a test in order to be a success (or get an A grade). But entrepreneurs and many historical figures haven’t been successful 90% of the time, because that’s not how it works in the real world.

Ron and Michelle talk about some sports metaphors and how success is measured in baseball and hockey. In those sports, being successful even one-third of the time is seen as a great achievement.

Michelle asks: What does it mean to build trust?

Ron says he holds that building trust is using the noun version of “trust.” There were times throughout his career where he didn’t trust the people he was working with. He found out that if they didn’t feel trusted, they wouldn’t perform to their full potential.

For the people he didn’t trust, the change was for him to show up and create them as trustworthy. Though it’s simple, it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Next, Michelle asks Ron whether there is anyone in the world Ron doesn’t trust.

Ron says there are a few people he trusts not to take care of him. Those people may have a story that they don’t need each other to get along, and they don’t have space for Ron in their world. Ron trusts people who will value him, provide help, and he will value and provide help in return.

Where does trust play a part as a leader?

In self-led teams, there are several places where there needs to be trust in order for it to work. Leaders need to trust their teams, and teams need to trust their visionary. Also, team members need to trust each other, to be vulnerable, to achieve the best outcome.

Ron shares a story about running an engineering factory. Someone who came to him really wanted a specific job, but he maybe wasn’t fully qualified. But what he focused on was care for the team and belief in everyone on the team. Ron said he created him as trustworthy, and he made a great leader.

As a leader, Ron says he had to trust this person to do the job. But he also made sure to speak out loud to the group about his trust of this person. He continually told the story of his belief because people will take on the stories you give them.

Michelle asks: Is it important to be public about your trust of a person and your belief in them?

Ron says you can’t just do it once. You have to keep doing it, keep sharing the story.

Ron says trusting someone can occur like magic, and believing in someone can occur like magic. When people feel that you believe in them, they’ll hold on to those standards. Positive reinforcement goes a long way -- even though it’s not actually magic.

Join us to hear how understanding the idea of “self talk” — and what you can do about it — could change your relationships and life for the better.

Episode Summary

What Does it Mean to Trust?

Ron and Michelle discuss trust as a noun and a verb, and the importance of believing in others in this episode of “The Story in Your Head.”