Jocellyn's Blog

Trust as a tool to engage people

I would like to speak about delegation and about my experience with working with people. For me is trust the biggest motivation. I am doing my best when I feel that my work has actual influence, that I am responsible for the outcome and that someone trusts me in this issue.

I am a founder of one small czech NGO, which works mainly around an informational website for young people about active and self-development spending of time. We do not have any money to pay a stuff, we do it as our hobby. Couple month ago we really felt that we need help. We were just 3 students taking care of it and it was just to much work for us. We started to look for volunteers. In that time I realized how hard is to engage people in some thought which is not originally theirs. We had lot of answers but the problem was that the people lost interest in a few days.

Now, few month later, I discovered the magical key to this problem. Trust. If you trust someone and you will delegate him some important task, he will feel important and he will connect with the idea much easier. We have a new volunteer and we gave her access to our mail, so she could actually see all the important conversation, we gave her access to our webpage, so she can post articles on her own (before we just asked volunteers to sent articles to me), and so on. She is really engaged and trying really hard, because she is in the middle of action right from the start.

We tried this also with some other volunteers and I can see how it works. Sure, you have to speak with the people, get to know them, make sure that they understand your project and your vision and give them some limits. I know that it may be hard to trust someone with something important, but I believe that it is the best way. If you let people to take responsibility for their work, you are saying to them: you are one of us. Welcome aboard. Trust is the strongest motivation because you will want to do the work right on your own. It is something what is also important to you.

It is a completely different approach than if you just delegate an order: “do this and this and do it like this”! If you trust someone, you are not saying how should they do it, you are just making clear what the outcome should be. If you give others a space, they can use their own creativity and their own potential. They will love to work with you, because you will be the person who respect them and trust them and help them to grow.

I can see the same impact on me. The thought of disappointing one’s confidence is much worse than other punishments. This works even in a school. When we are doing some project together, some group work, the best way how to cooperate is to make everyone responsible for something. You will avoid the “black passenger” effect when someone does not work at all and just rely on the rest.

This may seem as a simple theory, but many people does not realize how can trust make a really huge difference. Trust is a rare commodity and people are not used to give it to a lot of people, but why not? Why should we be cautious and assume that others do not deserve our trust until they prove otherwise? We should not we do it in the opposite direction?

After you read about how to engage people, you can also read about how to manage your work and put the most important things on the first place or how to be productive.

(Some of the toughts was inspired by 7 habits of higly effective people by S. Covey)


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