I trust you.

A framework for trust

I trust you.
Photo by Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash

There are two types of trust.

When we talk about trust, most people think of the first kind. Earned trust.

Earned trust is like a battery, or a fuel tank. When you first meet someone, the tank is halfway full. You neither trust nor distrust them, and you develop the relationship from there.

At 100%, or a full tank, you trust completely.

At 0%, or a completely empty tank, there is no trust. At this point, the relationship (working or otherwise) is in serious jeopardy.

This trust is important, and it underpins all of our relationships. Leaders spend their career trying to fill that tank, and it takes years.

There is another kind of trust. Granted trust.

In a startup long ago and far away, our new leader was introduced to our organization, and as one of their new direct reports, I had my first nervous 1-on-1 scheduled. We exchanged pleasantries and settled in to our conversation.

Then, my new leader’s first statement floored me.

He quietly said to me, “We haven’t met, but I trust you completely.”

Wait, what? I haven’t yet earned your trust, have I? Why are you giving it to me?

When you grant trust, without judgment, you completely change the dynamics of the relationship from that point. Suddenly, I feel compelled to both uphold that trust and return it as we work on our earned trust. It’s a gift.

As leaders, trust supports every authentic act we undertake. Try using both types of trust, and try giving it away.

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Jamie Larson