Trust is not a control. That is what I have been told. You can’t measure trust, you can’t hold someone to account on the back of it and perhaps you can’t even describe it. Trust is a funny thing, hard earned and easily lost. It’s something we all think we understand but is an intangible and fickle concept.
You can hold things in trust, you can set up a trust fund and you can trust me because I’m a doctor.
I’m sure that my organisation is no different to most in that we lunge between control and enablement. When something goes wrong we want to control more and when something goes right we want to enable more. The workforce is divided. There are those that want to control and see this as the purpose of their role and there are others who equally see it as their place to help enable.
Of course, there are people who want to be controlled and others that want to be left alone. As with most things the answer must lie somewhere in the middle. Trust cannot be an absolute. I might trust someone to do a good job and be a little less trusting should they ask me for money.
But let me go back to the original statement and ask is trust a way to control or not. If we place confidence or authority in someone and work with them to develop their skills, will this not lead to increased output, improved quality and a higher threshold of honesty than we might perhaps have come to expect?
I feel I will do a better job when I am trusted and in this instance I think I am with the majority and so this leads us to the paradox that perhaps the best way to get what you want out of someone is by trusting them.
Is the best way to control by setting people free?