Leaders and team members depend on each other for financial security and social stability. The stakes are big, and so is the risk associated with failure. It is actually this risk that fosters trust between colleagues. When people share a risk together, they come to depend on each other even when they don’t want to. This experimental learning is the foundation of how trust develops and grows.
To foster even deeper relationships, the best leaders create ways to share risks with others on purpose. When people are forced to spend time in the trenches together, good things usually happen. Sharing a confidence, exchanging important tasks, delivering a tough message together, representing each other, competing in a physical challenge, experiencing an adventure, exchanging radical candor. Yoking two people together to achieve a difficult outcome requires trust from the get-go. This is also true when people stand for each other and switch roles in high-stakes situations.
Trust is never secured by a single act or experience. It develops over time through many acts and experiences. But, one experience that supercharges relationships is sharing a risk together. Partaking in a common risk has the power to transform relationships, influencing how we see and trust each other. As Ernest Hemingway reminds us, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”