What is trust?
In organizational terms, trust is the confidence that team members have that their teammates' intentions are good and that there is no reason to become defensive or protective because no harm will come to them. Trust is created by one of the basic qualities of leadership: VULNERABILITY.
Usually, in the workshops where we work with teams, we start with a presentation exercise consisting of three questions:
- Something very much mine (a value, a character trait...).
- Something I hide (that I don't like to show generally in front of others).
- Something I can't stand (based on past experiences, things I dislike or dislike...).
This simple exercise begins to open up a different space in the group. The more they get to know each other, the better they understand each other's behaviors and reactions and the less they take things personally.
The set-up is different, everyone is seated in a circle, the hierarchy is blurred and therefore loses importance. Before the participants speak, we share our thoughts first. A fundamental learning in the development of teams for Gaia Balance is that the person or persons at the front set the tone for how far the team will go, because we can't accompany someone to a place we haven't visited before. Sometimes, the first people to speak do not take many risks, they share rather superficial topics... until, suddenly, a member of the team really opens his or her heart. That person changes the space and, through his or her courage and vulnerability, opens a different space in the group. Then the atmosphere relaxes and we can address these aspects in more depth, as people begin to see and let themselves be seen, magic and connection are created.
What is vulnerability?
It is the ability of a person to show himself as he is, including his imperfections and taking responsibility for his mistakes. Vulnerability requires a lot of courage, because in the development of a professional career, most successful people learn to be competitive with their peers and to protect their reputation. However, allowing yourself to be authentic and unarmored is exactly what it takes for the other person to trust you and open up to express what he or she needs. Therefore, vulnerability is when people accept and show themselves as they are and take responsibility for their impact.
Showing vulnerability does not leave a person unprotected - on the contrary! It assumes and takes charge of itself, the good and the bad. When you take responsibility for your mistakes and propose solutions to correct them. This is how you gain the credibility and trust of the group.
Teams where trust is lacking waste an enormous amount of time and energy controlling their behavior.Se ocultan mutuamente sus opiniones reales, sus errores, o sus resentimientos...
Or worse: they can blame each other.
In Gaia Balance's work with teams and companies, our first task is to create a safe space where vulnerability is possible, where team trust rises exponentially so that they can give each other feedback and solve conflicts creatively.
Trust generates authentic and deep conversations that create a relaxed space of complicity and recognition.
And what happens in virtual spaces?
Exactly the same. The impact of an authentic space, where there is a lot of presence, good listening and a non-toxic environment generates connection, even if it is through a camera. Vulnerability has no borders.
A study by the University of Dublin shows that a 10% increase in trust has the same impact on the level of employee engagement as a 36% salary increase... and it is certainly more sustainable.
It seems simple: I create a safe space, I open myself to vulnerability and voilà, I already have a high level of trust. Nothing could be further from the truth. The theory is very simple, as is the case with many of the concepts we work with, but the practice is extremely challenging. Daring to look inside yourself and show it is an enormous exercise in courage. Doing it in front of your co-workers is even more difficult. As facilitators, for us it is a very subtle exercise of listening, of knowing where the team is, how far they are willing to open up at that moment so that, from that place, we can create a safe place, without toxicity and with a powerful group agreement to accompany them with a mixture of challenge and affection in equal parts.