We Can with Two Rules-Build Relational Trust

Posted by Brenda Yoho

Building Relational Trust with Two Rules

Trust is a deeply emotional state, influencing every interaction and decision we make. When we think about building relational trust, especially in a school setting, we need to consider both character and competence. Trust is not just about liking someone; it’s about believing in their integrity and their ability to deliver on their promises.

What Leads Us to Trust Others?

We trust others when we see consistency between their words and actions. Integrity is about being honest and transparent. When someone’s agenda is clear and their actions align with their words, we feel safe and valued. For instance, if a colleague says they prioritize student well-being and consistently takes steps to support that, we trust their character.

Competence is the other side of the trust coin. We rely on people who demonstrate they have the skills and knowledge needed in their roles. For example, I might appreciate a colleague as a friend and trust them personally, but if I doubt their professional skills, like their ability to teach effectively, my trust in them as an educator wanes. Competence assures us that our colleagues can meet the demands of their roles, fostering a reliable and supportive environment.

What Leads Others to Trust Us?

Just as we seek integrity and competence in others, we must embody these qualities ourselves. Being upfront about our intentions and consistently following through on our commitments builds trust. Additionally, showcasing our skills and continually improving our expertise reassures our colleagues of our competence.

Understanding Distrust

Distrust arises from suspicions about a person’s integrity or capabilities. In many schools, I’ve observed how distrust can poison adult relationships, leading to dysfunction. When we suspect a colleague might have hidden agendas or question their abilities, it creates barriers to effective collaboration and growth.

The Importance of Relational Trust

Researchers Bryk and Schneider, share their concept of relational trust that highlights trust isn’t just an individual matter but is built through interpersonal social exchanges. In schools, student learning is significantly impacted by the relational trust among adults. For trust to flourish, each adult in the school must understand their own responsibilities and have clarity on what others do. Trust grows when we know what to expect from one another and can rely on each other to fulfill our roles.

To foster trust within your school community, embrace these Two Rules:

  1. Feel Good: Ensure everyone feels valued and respected by maintaining integrity and showing genuine care.
  2. Feel Safe: Build a culture of competence where everyone’s skills are recognized, and professional growth is supported.

By focusing on these principles, we can create an environment where trust thrives, leading to a more cohesive and effective educational community. When we invest time in understanding and nurturing this emotional state, we pave the way for a more harmonious and productive school culture.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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