I recently read an article from the Harvard Business Review, The Neuroscience of Trust by Paul J. Zak. I find the human brain fascinating, and with our theme of Trust, I decided this was something I could dig into. Through various experiments over 10 years, the organizers created a survey to help companies see in what areas they needed to work on trust and what areas they shone bright. It seems a no-brainer that companies with higher levels of trust among the ranks were stronger and had higher levels of performance as well as happiness.
Okay, granted we are not a multi-million-dollar company. But I think it’s fair to say we are in the business of creating justice and compassion. The authors of the study found eight management behaviors that foster trust. For the benefit of our community, what if we phrased this as eight congregational behaviors? Read through the following list and decide for yourself, are we a community that fosters trust?
Do we recognize excellence? Do we celebrate successes and show recognition to those who go above and beyond?
Do we induce “challenge stress”? Do we give our congregation “difficult but achievable” tasks, giving us the opportunity to work together toward a common goal?
Do we give others control over work that needs to be done? Do we allow for autonomy, innovation, and multiple approaches?
Do we allow freedom of choice when choosing what project to work on? Are we encouraging each other to join groups that call to their interests?
Do we share information? Do we ensure that everyone is aware of all areas of congregational life?
Do we put intention behind building relationships? Are we active in creating social networks and building long lasting and healthy friendships?
Do we allow for “whole-person growth”? Are we finding opportunities in all areas of life to grow as a human being?
Do we show vulnerability? Are we making space to ask for help without shame or judgement?
Organizations with higher levels of trust have more empathy, are more productive, and not only treat each other better but themselves as well. Take a little time think of the ways we are fostering trust here at CVUUF. As I went through the questions myself, I was able to come away from this feeling that, yes, I do trust this congregation. I trust us to be here for each other, rain or shine. I trust us to excel at the business of justice and compassion. I trust us to be leaders as we work toward a better future. I hope you trust us too.
Samantha Dickerson, Director of Religious Education