To Ponder: Forced Trust

Can you force trust?

Overwhelmingly your answer to that is likely to be in the negative. “Trust must be earned” is the old adage.

Yet – this is exactly what COVID19 has done to the vast majority of our workplaces – especially ones with a conservative culture where trust was previously low. The mass-shift to work from home meant that organisations now had to trust employees that it previously didn’t. Or more specifically, leaders had to trust employees that they previously didn’t.

Trust them to work.

Trust them to be maintain professionalism.

Trust them to manage themselves.

And while there are most certainly exceptions to this, on the whole the result has been what anyone with faith in humans would expect.

The jobs still got done.

So can you force trust? No. I don’t think you can.

However, can you grow trust be forcing it to be tested?


To revisit the old adage here, perhaps it would be more apt if it were:

Trust must be earned – but you have to give them the chance to earn it”.

So for those of you operating in low trust environments (pro-tip if your area is focused on administration or governance then it’s highly likely that you may be) – consider: how can you create an opportunity to test and grow collective trust?

There’s a massive caveat here though. Trust is just one axis towards high value. The other is support. Don’t test trust unless you have support in place.