Are you the kind of person who a) Trusts until they have reason to mistrust or b) Mistrusts until they have reason to trust or c) A Doubting Tom?
If you’re the first kind, Congratulations!
Life’s definitely easier for you. And contrary to popular belief, it does not mean that you’re naive or ignorant. You’re just sure of yourself, your ability and your principles. You believe in setting up robust processes and checks that work like a clock, where one need not rely on trust . You exercise caution and discretion and you are brave.Therefore, the question of doubting people is never a question that you reckon with.
If you belong to the second type, ” The Mistrusting Type”, God help those who have to deal with you.
You could do everybody a favor if you worked on your own. If such a person is in a senior position, then they would adopt the “Divide and Rule” policy or be overly authoritative. If such a person is in a lower position, then he or she would indulge in being a “Yes Man”. Such people can never be successful or happy. They simply can not believe in the goodness of people or that people can be reliable. Such people are unreliable by nature with low or no ethics but they are not cowards. They may grow by creating a sense of fear around them but their own mistrust comes in the way of their success.
Working with employees or bosses who have trust issues, reduces productivity and can be a constant irritant. Such people can go to any extent to safeguard their position. It can be stifling to work in such an environment where every action or word is monitored. The only way to save yourself is to get out of such an environment if the person in question is your boss or to speak to the person and show them through various actions that they need not doubt, if the person in question is someone who works under you.
I actually had one boss who would keep a note of everything his direct reports said to him by using notes on MS- Outlook. He would criticize by email and praise only face to face so there was no proof of it. The strangest thing was that he even told us about it very proudly or maybe it was his way to ensure we remained on the right track (;)) . He advocated the practice as good management and encouraged his direct reports to do the same. I’m not sure if anybody followed the valuable advice meted down to “those who aspired to grow”. I, for one, preferred to be in “The content lot ” club with no aspiration to grow. It put him at ease and saved me from the tedious task.
If you belong to the third category, God help you!
It must be tiresome living your life. Living in doubt and fear must be terribly taxing. You simply cannot understand the first category of people and hence you mistrust them. You hate the second category for the obvious reason that they regard you with mistrust. Yet you will not change because of the inherent fear that you live with. People who belong to this category most likely have had some past experience which makes them overtly wary of all those around them. They will swear by the fact that being cautious is what’s helped them survive and grow. They judge based on naysayers rather than based on concrete evidence. These people are scared and though they may not be not mean or bad like the second category, “The Mistrusting Type”, they can let you down at the first opportunity because they lack courage or conviction.
People in the first category may find “Doubting Toms” simply tiresome and may leave them alone as they are the ones with the problem. They come around eventually, sometimes only when you’re leaving the organisation as they finally convince themselves that their fears were baseless. The unfortunate part is that in this case while the damage is not visible, the relationship has been tarnished by doubt. So, my advice to “Doubting Toms”, if they care for it, would be that even if you doubt, it’s best not to show it unless you are absolutely sure of wrongdoing. Keep your fear to yourself, refrain from making public statements and simply remain vigilant, if you can’t help it. It’s best not to publicize your fear. It may be fine for you to be proved wrong but the person mistrusted may never forget how they were treated.
Good Leaders Vs Others
Good leaders belong to first category : trusting until they have reason to mistrust. They have too much on their plate, too many goals to achieve to indulge in the seed of mistrust. That’s the essential difference between Managers and Leaders, between good leaders and bad leaders, between good employees who have the potential to grow and those who grow simply by “sucking-up” to their bosses.
The best bosses or employees to work with are no doubt those who belong to the first category. They are secure and confident. These people focus on the goal. Meeting challenges keeps them going. You will not find them around the pantry gossiping or trying to win an extra point by being a “Yes Man”. They take rational decisions based on numbers and facts. They build trust by their actions. They are not weakened by those who do not trust them.
How do you begin to trust?
The ability to trust and have faith comes from a sense of confidence in one-self. Confidence comes from knowledge and faith in the process. Mistrust and doubt stems from a deep sense of insecurity, greed or fear of “what if?”.
WHY MUST YOU AIM TO BELONG TO GROUP 1- The Trusting Types
These groups are not rigid and people can always move up and down groups based on experiences, personality types and willingness to change. In my opinion, it’s important to work towards being in the first category as it increases, confidence, self-worth, courage and improves relations.
What do you think of the above classifications? Again, these classifications are based on my own experience with people and organizations. Do share your feedback based on your own experiences. Maybe, there’s another type that I haven’t added or some other qualities that you may want me to add to the above groups? Maybe, there’s something skewed in my classification…Let’s talk about it.
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