Over the past month I’ve attended three events where ‘trust’ has been a key theme; trust in the financial system, trust in the media and trust in teams. Polar adventurer, Alan Chambers’ view is that there is no trust without honesty. In my experience, when under extreme pressure, in extreme environments being honest with yourself, let alone others, is hard enough but, as Chambers says “in a polar expedition team it is not only the difference between success and failure but also between life and death”.
In the media, financial journalist, Robert Bruce, suggests that good journalism is the crux to restoring confidence and trust. “A definition of good and bad journalism is reporting what people need to know hear versus what they want to hear.” One is logically right, the other emotionally satisfying.
The emotional trigger of trust is a chemical called Oxytocin and a process known as THOMAS (The Human Oxytocin Mediated Attachment System). THOMAS’ effects are modulated by our large prefrontal cortex that houses the ‘executive’ regions of the brain. THOMAS is all emotion, while the prefrontal cortex is deliberative… THOMAS causes us to empathize with others, the key to building social relationships.
Trust is both an emotional and logical act. In times of change, leaders must focus on both the provision of accurate information to aid the logical process and on personal honesty to support the emotional.
Psychology, when applied precisely helps accelerate organisational change.