Hard-Wired for Trust

Has anyone else noticed a rash of aggressive driving lately? It seems that some people are taking advantage of the empty roads to drive at excessively high speeds. And reckless driving is far from the worst behavior that’s been making headlines over the last two months. 

On the other hand, we’ve also read about people shopping for their elderly neighbors; kids giving their allowances to food banks; and restaurant patrons leaving hundred-dollar tips. As we rise to the challenge of this crisis, the importance of relationships and our reliance on each other has never been more clear. 

But then, human beings are naturally predisposed to rely on each other. Thanks to our big brains, we’re born years before we can take care of ourselves. We’re highly dependent on our parents, and because of this, we enter the world hard-wired to make social connections. You could say that trust is in our genes right from the start. 

In the distant past, trust was critical to our survival, especially in times of risk. Nobody goes out and gets a wooly mammoth on their own. Working together cooperatively was in the best interest of both the individual and the community. 

In these modern times, trust is recognized as essential to business. When trust is high, we’re able to attract customers, deepen teamwork, increase productivity and foster innovation. Without it, we have no influence or ability to grow. 

In our current reality, trust is a test that we didn’t study for, but have to pass. We have to trust that our fellow citizens will do their part. Trust that our employees can adapt and do their jobs. Trust in our own ability to take decisive leadership action when so much is unknown. 

This is a novel time for leaders to build trust in their companies and with their employees. So keep the communication flowing. Be consistent in your actions. Show you care as often as you can. And when the going gets tough and the doubts creep in, just remember: You were born for this.