Seven aspects of trust

This simple reflective guide and tool can be used by teams to reflect on the seven types of trust required in teams. Usually this exercise takes 60 minutes to complete.

Purpose: To think about how they will build high quality of trust in the mentoring relationship

Process: Introduce the exercise by explaining that one of the big problems in large organisations is lack of truly honest dialogue around careers issues. Team learning requires a safe environment, where honest conversation can take place. But it doesn’t happen automatically, especially in diverse teams. Understanding the seven basic types of team trust creates the opportunity to explore how well (or not) these are expressed in the team and what to do about areas of relatively low trust.

The seven types of trust are:

  •   Trust in each other’s goodwill — that they care about you as an individual
  •   Trust in each other’s values — that, while they may express their values differently, at root they have the same beliefs about what is important in relationships between people
  •   Trust in the confidentiality of the relationship — knowing that, with obvious exceptions of legal obligations and duty of care, what is said in the relationship remains in the relationship
  •   Trust in each other’s willingness to learn from the other
  •   Trust that each will do what they say they will do
  •   Trust that each will air any concerns they have about the relationship
  •   Trust that each will be appropriately tough on the other, when it is needed — knowing that a critical friend is the most trustworthy friend of all.

    Ask participants in small groups to discuss how they will build and sustain each of these types of trust. Regroup and collect their thoughts on the flipchart.

    Consider what actions might a) reinforce each type of trust and b) undermine trust?
    Key Lesson – trust rarely just happens. You have to work at it.

    Copyright 2022 – David Clutterbuck

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