We’re happy to have Paul Garro, Executive Director of City Year San Antonio, as our guest blogger. A featured speaker for iPEC’s “Dialogue Among Thought Leaders” series, Paul has been successfully serving the educational community for 20+ years. In addition, he’s been a national consultant for “Teaching the Hard to Reach,” and has authored the first of a series of books entitled, “Classrooms of Inspiration.”
So, what builds trust?
For starters, a strong foundation for trust develops when you expose your limitations, own your actions, and admit that you can’t get everything done all by yourself. In fact, vulnerability and humility have the effect of gathering people together to shape meaning and motivate change.
Trust is also built by a demonstration of our values. When leaders stay true to their values, and their actions are aligned with what they say, confidence begins to build in the people they lead. In essence, these leaders develop powerful vulnerability, which translates into demonstrated integrity — one of the very cornerstones for building trust.
In the Corporation for National & Community Service’s study, “Volunteering and Civic Life in America,” participants from various cities across the country were asked to rate their level of trust in their neighborhoods, public schools, corporations, and the media. While neighborhoods and public schools had the highest levels of trust, corporations and the media were shown to have much lower levels, revealing the tremendous opportunity that exists to connect with our communities and become trusted partners.
How do we break down barriers and build bridges in order to capitalize on this opportunity and formulate trust? In other words, how do we creatively form relationships on our way to successfully building trusted community networks?
Being well-versed in your beliefs, and in your craft, allows you to embody your values and develop strategic relationships with the people and organizations within your communities. From these relationships, your academic organization can build a trusted portfolio of business and community network partners.
So, spend some time with a bit of self-reflection on these seemingly simple, yet powerful, questions:
- How well versed am I in who I am?
- How well versed am I in my craft?
To be sure, listening is also key, as is finding the commonality that exists between your organization and those within your community. Be bold and persistent in finding that commonality; it’s the fuel that will spark your ability to build networks of trust.
When you combine these elements together, you’ll also portray a sense of confidence – confidence in your yourself and in your mission. With trust and confidence, and community alignment, you’ll be amazed by what you’ll be able to accomplish together.
Again, powerful vulnerability, that sense that you don’t have all the answers, that you can’t go it alone, is what paves the way for building, and sustaining, these all-important networks of trust. While they help to provide us with the strategic levers necessary to catapult the trajectory of our organization to an entirely new level (e.g., increasing its capacity for change, propelling its growth), perhaps most important of all is our shared ability to deliver a positive social return to our communities.
What do you see as possible within your organization, and across your community, by tapping into your own powerful vulnerability? And, how can you be a disciple in building communities of trust?
City Year San Antonio
*The image above is an actual painting by Paul Garro, which not only reflects his artistic talents and immense creativity; it’s also a very personal reflection of his heart-centered approach as a servant leader.