Ode to Trust

This summer I have had the opportunity to work on our Professional Staff Training Committee within our Housing Department. We have been busy reserving rooms, contacting speakers, and ordering meals for a month long training process that begins next week! We have also spent a considerable amount of time coming up with ways to build trust as a professional staff team (thank you to those who gave me some ideas on Twitter). These discussions centered on trust led me really understand the role trust played on my coordinator staff team last year.

In my residence hall we have approximately 1,000 bed spaces, 22 Community Assistants, a Hall Secretary, two Graduate Hall Coordinators, and one full-time Residence Life Coordinator. There are a lot of us! Last year we identified it was essential for the three of us, as coordinators and supervisors, to have open communication, but perhaps more importantly trust. I want to use this opportunity to say my past supervisor did a fantastic job at building this trust among our team, and this is how I believe she accomplished this.

Honest Open Door. Many of us have probably worked with someone who says they have an open door policy but it didn’t always necessarily feel that open. In order to build a trusting relationship among staff a true open door policy must exist. Supervisors hold the responsibility to create a safe environment where supervisees feel comfortable asking questions.

Belief. How many of us know exactly how to handle every morsel thrown on our plate? I know last year as a first year graduate student there were plenty of situations that I needed to talk to my supervisor about (which I felt comfortable to do so due to the open door policy). What made me even more likely to ask questions was I was assured that my supervisor believed that I had the competency to make the right choices. Never once did I feel that if I asked a question would he belief in me falter.

Reciprocity. Some may call this humility, but in regard to trust reciprocity it can go a long way. While the Residence Life Coordinators (RLC) is the full time staff member who has a master’s degree, she would still come to both of us grads and ask for our opinions. She wasn’t afraid to admit that she also did not know everything. She made us feel valued.

In my opinion trust is an essential part of a successful team. How do you define trust? How do you build trust on your staff, with your students, or in your life? I would love to hear!

In peace,

Ryan Bye

Student Affairs - the First Years

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