Honest conversations are critical to make relationships thrive.
A business leader confessed to me the other day that his biggest learning from 2016 was not to trust his direct reports implicitly. He cited the case of his CEO not living up to the values of the organization. “I think I sold my trust cheap. I have learnt now that my people must earn my trust,” he declared.
Team leaders, business owners and entrepreneurs often lament this situation. Almost everyone in the corporate sector has at least one story of misplaced trust. When I led a team, I too have felt let down, when some of my team members took me for “granted” and “misused” my trust. But over the years of learning from Life I have realized that trust is over-rated. And I have come to believe that if you feel let down by someone, it is because you have failed at setting, or establishing, the contours of the relationship.
Let me explain my point of view. If you think about it deeply, trust is nothing but an expectation that you place on someone. You are saying to yourself, without even expressing to the other person(s) explicitly, that because you are well-intentioned, compassionate and objective, you expect them too to be the same way to you. Since this expectation is often unexpressed, it remains within you. And when it is met or exceeded, you feel your trust has paid off. And when it is not met, you feel your trust has been betrayed. Now, where is the question of your trust coming up when you have not even stated your position, your expectation upfront? Which is why I feel that, in most contexts, this ‘betrayal of trust’ lament is a bogey. And which is also why, in any relationship, corporate or otherwise, work or personal, the contours must be drawn up clearly. What works, what does not, what excites you, what does not, what you expect and what is expected of you, it is better these aspects, and more, are spoken about clearly. Upfront. Not so much in a cookie-cutter, Standard Operating Procedure format. But as honest conversations. Then the relationship starts off on a clear note. As you can see, this is not about work-related relationships alone. Even between spouses and companions, among parents and children, among siblings and among neighbors, these conversations help in fostering harmony and avoiding heartburn.
Raising this argument to a spiritual plane, can you have such contours drawn up with Life? Can you claim to Life that since you are hardworking and ethical, you must be given a fair deal? Will your submission even be considered by Life which operates with a mind of its own? Yet, in this lifetime, is there a choice you have with trusting Life? You have to. Period! You have to accept that since you have been created you will be provided for and looked after. Your lamenting that your expectations from Life have been betrayed will cut no ice. Life will simply go on. So, then, when you can’t really do anything but accept Life’s ways, why are you getting so keyed up about the way people treat you?
Take a chill pill. Stop setting expectations on anyone. Instead, set the contours in any relationship upfront. Say how you like to live or work with people. If they respect your choices or invite you to visit common ground, fine. If not, move on and be happy without such people in your Life – whoever they may be!
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