LILA ~ Learning Innovations Laboratory at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

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  1. Marga Biller

    Trust – Harnessing the Power of Agency and Belonging

    People have an inherent need for belonging and agency, which can be fulfilled by trust in different ways. But just what is trust? It is the willingness to be vulnerable—to take a risk—in a relationship based on positive expectations of the trustee. And in the workplace belonging and agency matter because of their impact on job performance, commitment to the organization, and well-being. Mike’s research suggests that feeling trusted and having an opportunity to trust others can increase employees’ sense of belonging and agency. By a wide margin, the three biggest predictors of trust are ability, benevolence and integrity. (There is also trust propensity – a personality trait where someone is more willing to believe that others are reliable – but this can go away.) A few examples of trusting behavior include the supervisor’s willingness to rely on the employee’s skills and abilities, to disclose sensitive information or feelings to the employee, and to reduce monitoring of the employee. What are your thoughts? When have you experienced trust that led to your feeling a sense of agency, belonging and connection?

Harvard Graduate School of Education