Saturday, March 31, 2007

Trust and trustworthiness: Key for effective communities

Sitting this morning at the job fair, chatting with my former colleague, he expressed some slight surprise that I was looking for a teaching job. I guess having been out of the business for so long, and having such a decent job at the moment, I’m an anomaly. He said something like, “I’m surprised that you have such a yearning for boarding school. I didn’t realize it had such an impact on you.”

It’s interesting. What I strive for, first and foremost, is a community. I think that’s one of the reasons that I have honed in on small boarding schools that place an emphasis on the boarding program. I do, truly, want a place that I, and my family, can call home.

Now, certainly, every community has it’s faults, but I know that I can find a place to call home.

My former colleague (I guess I should give him a name, rather than just referring to him as my former colleague; I’ll call him Mr. Wotus) and I chatted about a multitude of things. One of those things was trust and trustworthiness. To be worthy of trust is to be trustworthy. How does one become trustworthy. I think the answer is that the work happens on the inside. I can be worthy of trust if I make and keep promises, if I don’t speak ill of the absent, if I do what I say and say what I do, if I give without regard to what I receive.

This is no easy task, mind you, but one which is required if a person is to live in a community. In too many organizations, and I’m not talking just about schools, trust is something which is in short supply. But, I believe that an organization can change from one where trust is in short supply to where everyone is worthy of trust. And, like trustworthiness on the individual level, that starts from the inside, building trust within an organization can start with a single person.

But it takes a long time; change like this, real change in an organization’s culture, takes years to take effect.

1 comment:

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