I’ve often been queried that in the ‘Defence Forces’ you’ve troops from all over the country, different regions, different cultures, different backgrounds and yet how do you’ll function like one well-oiled machine? How do you all do that? How do you build TRUST?
This question got me thinking. It’s really amazing, when you get down to think about it. The officers are from all different background and commanding men from different culture with no common language. The broken Hindi these men learn (kind of foreign language to them) is during their brief recruitment training. And yet, with ease, they face bullets together. How? The level of trust is so much that they’re ready to risk their lives in the hands of their buddies, in the hands of their sub-unit/ unit; willing to lay down their lives.
When I got down to think, the reasons were crystal clear. In the Army we have a shared common goal. A clear vision as to what has to be done for the glory and the good name of the unit with no personal agenda interfering with these objectives. Next the organizational value system set a benchmark for every one to emulate. It becomes incumbent on our part to follow the rich history and tradition of the armed forces. Coupled with this tradition is the ethos of the regiment you get commissioned into. The regimental history pushes you to continue the legacy.
The ‘Naam, Namak, Nishan’ are the ultimate inspiration as a touchstone for our own values to be judged against. The ‘Naam’ is the name of the regiment on your shoulders that you display with pride. ‘Namak’ is the salt of the place. Our country. Our motherland. ‘Nishaan’ is the standard you carry. The ultimate symbol of valour. The ‘flag’ for which a soldier lays down his life. It’s carried into the battlefield to rally the troops around it. It inspires. It enthuses. It reminds. It pushes. It urges. It eggs. It commands. It compels. It implores and it exhorts. Nothing less is acceptable. Each one of us is set against this benchmark.
Last but not the least is integrity, loyalty and transparency in our dealings. When lives matter. When it’s a question of life and death no opacity can function. The interactions/ the interpersonal relations go beyond the mundane. Here, when you say, “you’ll do it, you do it”. You walk the talk. Because each moment you are in the spotlight. Your men. The men whom you’ll lead to battlefield are watching you 24/7. Any discrepancy or murkiness is called out. This is the day they stop following you. Your word matters.
You are trusted or trustworthy when people believe in your ability, your consistency, your integrity and commitment to deliver. Without trust your influence will diminish. Trust is the principle of empowerment and the principle of success. And more often than not, Trust in an organization is top-driven. Your CEO. Your Commanding Officer. Thus respect plays an important role in trust.
A major obstacle to the success of many relationships, is trust. Without trust, respect and love cannot flourish. Truly successful and healthy relationships don’t have room for suspicion or lack of belief. For any organization to thrive, Trust is an imperative. Organizational trust is built on everyday actions. TRUST: Transparency, Responsive, Ur Caring, Sincere and Trustworthy. We’ve dealt with broken promises, unfulfilled commitments, withholding information, unfair treatment, lies and dishonesty. In such an environment people will bail on relationships, greater resignations, cynicism reigns, productivity goes south and self-interest triumphs. Think about it!
Dr Brene Brown spoke of ‘Vulnerability’ in her seminal TED talk. So, how does vulnerability tie to Trust? When we trust someone, we are vulnerable with them. Also when we feel vulnerable, we want to trust someone. It is the act of sharing our shortcomings with others that make our relationship strong. Practicing it is the core of healthy communication.
Think of your friend. Doesn’t he/she know who you are as a person? Doesn’t he/she know what are your flaws and your strengths? Vulnerability thus, is not a weakness; it is a strength.
And to initiate any trust issues, you need to begin with ‘Self-trust’. Self-trust is when you maintain boundaries to protect your own needs and safety. You prioritize self-care. You keep your promises and speak kindly to yourself. You are mindful and honour your whole self regardless.