By: Peter Carr EROAD Director, Regulatory Market Development ANZ
There is a saying that trust is one of the few things that is increased by giving it to others.
When you put someone in control of your truck you need to be able to trust them. When a driver puts their livelihood into your hands, they need to be able to trust you. You could say you both need to earn each other’s trust, but that idea is unhelpful as it suggests you are both hanging back, waiting for the other person to prove themselves.
Trust in professional relationships needs to be built by actively investing a little, giving the other person a chance to do you a little harm, and acknowledging it when they don’t by giving them a little more of your risks or interests to handle for you. Trust, verify, and repeat.
In the workplace, trust is about being realistic but optimistic:
- Realistic, because you are running a business, the bottom-line has to be respected, and some people will let you down no matter how many chances you give them, so you need systems and evidence to find and remove them.
- Optimistic, because most people, most of the time, share a common goal (making a living) and want to do well at what they do, so your systems need to help them give their best.
In practice, trusting is about flexible and integrity:
- Flexibility, because it is the goal that is important and some activities can be done to different people’s tastes without hurting the core processes or efficiency that deliver the goal.
- Integrity, because the goal shouldn’t be undermined by compromising on standards, and people given a little discretion should use it appropriately to create better ways of achieving the end goal.
Tough times put trust under pressure, but they are precisely when trust is most needed: you build it in the good times to help you weather the bad. Indeed, if you are into reading academic papers, then there is a lifetimes worth of reading showing how practical trust increases productivity and efficiency in any pressured setting. But if academic papers aren’t your thing, trust that the evidence is there in plenty!
About the author
Peter Carr is the Director Regulatory Market Development with EROAD Ltd, responsible for working with government policy agencies and regulators across Australia and New Zealand on road safety, funding and taxation matters. Prior to joining EROAD, Peter was responsible for advising the New Zealand government on: the operation and performance of the land transport revenue, funding and investment systems; the rates of Road User Charges and Fuel Excise Duty; the use of tolling, debt and public-private partnerships; and the regulatory settings for heavy vehicle dimensions, mass, and access.