“(S)he who does not trust enough will not be trusted.”
Trust is a strange thing. There is no way that someone can prove themselves worthy of your trust, unless you put your trust in them in the first place. But what if the person you put your trust in lets you down, the moment that you hand your trust over? We have to be brave to trust, but we also need to be realistic – no one can do everything on their own, we have to rely on others. Plus which one of us can say that we never let someone else down? None of us are perfect, so let she who is without sin cast the first stone. It’s tempting to micro manage, to control as much as you possibly can, particularly if you don’t trust easily, or if you are under pressure. But in the end this is counterproductive because you cannot do it all. At some point you have to let go. The less trust you are willing give, the more control you have to retain. And the more control you retain, the less you listen to other people, and the more likely you are to make mistakes yourself, or to do something so over controlling it doesn’t make sense. Here are a couple of handy examples from Twitter.
When you employ someone to work in your setting, you are saying that you trust them. You do the right checks, and then you welcome them into your team. When other people know that you trust them to do their job, they tend to feel happier in their work. The feeling you get when you know that your colleagues and managers trust you to use your professional judgement is a key part of feeling satisfied in your job. Sometimes staff will make mistakes, just like managers do, but try to give them space to learn from those mistakes, just as we try to do with our children. If you are a school leader, remember that your staff have to trust you, as well as you having to trust them – people will do a hell of a lot for people that they trust and respect. In the end you cannot do it for them, anyway, you can only do it together. In a culture of wellbeing, trust percolates up and down through a setting, making everyone feel better and happier. We all let each other down, from time to time, but we cannot substitute control for trust. And it’s the getting up again and dusting ourselves off ready to begin over, that is most important in the end.