As social beings, humans have relied on cooperation to innovate and create wonderful things throughout their history. If we think about it, we have become the dominant species on Earth because we managed to work together for the common good.

We have also managed to wage wars on each other, we are responsible for the extinction of countless species, and we have almost destroyed significant parts of our ecosystem, but this is an entirely different story.

Through cooperation, we have ensured our survival along the millennia and we have succeeded in building skyscrapers, going to the Moon, inventing the internet, etc. For these types of endeavors, cooperation was a key element.

And as we all know, for effective cooperation, trust is essential.

The trifecta of trust in a learning organization

Trust is the social glue for all relationships, both personal and professional. In companies, trust is a critical factor for leaders who want to be successful, according to Zenger and Folkman. In their research, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman identified three elements that make leaders more trustworthy in their organizations. By cultivating these three elements, a leader can boost the levels of trust that the others have in them and thus deliver better results in their companies.

Needless to say, trust is also essential for learning and development and the trifecta of trust will empower learners and increase the learning outcomes.

1. Positive relationships

Work environments that rely on cooperation between colleagues rather than on fierce competition are more successful and have better employee retention rates. In cross-functional teams, people learn from one another and have a broader perspective on business processes.


Read more: Why companies should consider the gamification of work


Moreover, sharing knowledge to achieve the common goals is beneficial in the long run for everyone, so if possible try to implement this system in your company both for business and for learning purposes.

Brainstorming is an essential way to show people that you trust them to contribute to the best ideas.

Try as much as possible to resolve conflicts and create a positive atmosphere.

Keep in mind that people thrive when they feel their voice is heard.

Give feedback in a helpful and constructive way and help people improve their abilities. The better they are, the better the company will be!


Read more: Building a knowledge-sharing organizational culture


2. Good judgment

People trust leaders who make good decisions, have a clear vision and are able to anticipate problems. Try to anticipate what may go wrong and come up with possible solutions. Initiate change as early as possible, if it will help to avoid future problems.

Be informed and let people know that you are available if they want to discuss new ideas or to address certain problems.

Look for patterns and identify new trends: it might help you find new market niches and new learning opportunities for your employees.


Read more: 4 E-learning trends shaping up the LMS industry in 2020


Identify upskilling and reskilling needs and allow people to absorb knowledge and to grow in their respective fields.

Communicate in uncertain times and try to dissipate ambiguity. Not knowing what to expect might create an unsafe working environment.

3. Show consistency

It is important to keep commitments: some leaders have great ideas, but they don’t always follow through. Show people that you keep your promises. One of the best ways to do that is to keep track of your promises and communicate with your team when important milestones are reached.

Set high standards for others and for yourself, too. There’s nothing more frustrating than a sloppy boss who is also very demanding. Be a role model and people will follow you.

Try to improve all the time: challenge yourself to do a little more, to push a little harder and people will do the same.

Collaborate with others and do not make it a personal game with “the winner takes it all” attitude. Remove barriers, involve others and share credit for common success.

Closing thoughts

In training programs, good relationships, good judgment, and consistency are also essential for better learning outcomes. Trainers are in fact leaders of their cohorts and they should act as such. Be open, trust others and allow them to trust you in return.

Remember the wise words of Ernest Hemingway:

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.

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