Group of working team around table

An abundance of trust blog posts and articles are produced every week. You can find studies about the importance of trust in the workplace, tools for building trust, and statistics indicating that many of us aren’t very good at trust. Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, trust is a crucial part of our day-to-day.

Which is why I find it refreshing to work for an organization that seems to have a pretty good grasp of what this whole trust thing is all about. It’s a deep level of trust that comes from accepting a person for who they are and appreciating their uniqueness rather than asking them (or expecting them) to be someone else.

I had an ah-ha moment about my own Profile the other day while brainstorming ways in which Emergenetics benefits teams. My behaviors are 2-1-3. I’m not as likely to make my opinions known in a meeting; I much prefer to do so in a 1 on 1 setting. As a first-third Assertive, I am all about seeking group consensus. That’s not to say I can’t speak up or lead a group discussion, but given my Structural preference, I will always defer to the official leader or highest ranking title. Case in point- during our recent mid-year review, we did an exercise where we broke into groups of 3 with those closest to us in the Expressiveness Spectrum. In this setting I became the group facilitator because hierarchy was not a factor.

I realized that because of Emergenetics I am able to operate with a higher level of trust with my boss and my co-workers than in any other job I’ve had prior. I’ve always been self-conscious of what I perceived as the weakness in my behavioral tendencies. I used to always worry that I would be seen as someone who doesn’t care (quite the opposite!) or one who can’t form an opinion since I don’t talk up as much as other people. It’s easy to get hung up on what you’re “supposed to be” and forget about all of the great things that you have the ability to do.

In my current situation, my boss and my co-workers know my Emergenetics Profile and know that I am more likely to share my thoughts in a meeting if I have time to prepare beforehand. They understand that if I’m asked my opinion on something, I’ll probably share reasons why I agree with what others have said. And if I don’t agree, I’ll probably just stay silent.

It’s very freeing to know that I can still be viewed as a valuable group contributor. It may sound silly to some of you. But considering the prevalence of articles about the benefits of assertiveness, such as this one in the Harvard Business Review, those of us in the first-third often find ourselves feeling a bit at odds with our natural tendencies.

So what does my feeling good about who I am have to do with building trust with others?

I’ve worked in organizations where I have extremely high levels of trust with some people, but virtually zero trust with others. No matter how hard I worked at building trust with that person, it seemed like we were just going in circles. We always managed to get the job done; luckily it never got in the way of our work, but we were also never as productive as we could have been. I was never able to tap into the brilliance of their brain from a cognitive diversity perspective. And, as a 95th Percentile Social Thinker— sometimes it just plain hurt!

Emergenetics has given me the ability to not only understand my own tendencies, but I now recognize that other people naturally think and behave differently than I do. Time and time again I hear from people that it’s the language of grace— and in my experience, this is completely true.

Given my own Profile, I frequently hear myself saying things like, “Help me Blue and Yellow this up” or “Let me process this and get back to you.” Because my co-workers all speak the same Emergenetics language, they know exactly what I mean. They know they can come to me to look at things from a very concrete, actionable perspective. And that as an 82 on the Flexibility spectrum, I’m pretty accepting when plans change or the course shifts 90 degrees in another direction.

Think about all of the words people associate with trust— authentic, honest, dependable, earned, sincere… To me, this is exactly what it means to live out your Emergenetics Profile and to appreciate the Profile of others. Sometimes trust doesn’t have to be anything more than just being expected to be uniquely you. That’s the great thing about working on a team with high levels of trust. We get to be exactly who we are— and we each have something amazing to contribute.

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