Blog post

The three secrets to building trust

Tue, 28 August 2018#RebuildingTrust

Trust is the fundamental glue that holds society together. It provides solid foundations enabling institutions to build a better, stronger, more inclusive world.

When people believe that their institutions are honest, transparent and work for the interest of the entire community, that bond of trust is strong. But when that trust is broken, those same institutions are destined to fail.

This is critical from a human rights perspective. Protecting trust and strengthening the bond between institutions and individuals is a key element of the Fundamental Rights Forum 2018.

We need to promote universal active citizenship across Europe. Yet hundreds of thousands of ethnic minority voters are missing from our electoral registers as they are not entitled to vote. In addition many people no longer vote, as they have grown disillusioned with democratic processes.

At the same time, effective policing is getting harder, as hate crimes against the marginalised in society often go unreported. And access to justice for all remains out of reach for many.

People want decisions by local and national lawmakers to be more transparent, inclusive and accountable. This applies equally to civil, political, social and economic rights.

So we need to help people, especially minorities but not just, believe that recognising and then claiming their rights is an effective solution. This can only truly happen if everyone plays an active role in society.

Sessions within the 2018 Forum’s #RebuildingTrust track will share ideas and solutions to help improve the trust between individuals, communities and institutions across Europe today. The answers are within our reach.

Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei identifies three core components to trust: authenticity, logic and empathy.

She is clear that redemption is possible for organisations and institutions struggling with trust. Prof Frei says: “You’ve seen how companies and individuals can change at breathtaking speed.”

The academic, who also worked as senior vice-president for leadership and strategy at Uber, recently revealed her quick tips to improve the triangle of trust.

  1. Empathy “Look up, look at the people right in front of you. Listen to them. Deeply immerse yourself in their perspectives.”
  2. Logic “It’s often the case our logic is sound, but the problem is our ability to communicate. Start with your point in a crisp half sentence…THEN give your supporting evidence.”
  3. Authenticity “If you don’t want an authenticity problem, be yourself…when you’re presenting any sort of difference the prescription to be you can be challenging. Resist the temptation to hold back who you are. If we do that we are less likely to be trusted.”

Prof Frei’s views are shared by many attending the 2018 Forum. Attendees will be working to build trust through open and inclusive policy making.

In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Forum will explore ways to “build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. A FRA-led working group will examine over three days what erodes and what drives trust.

Mauricio Lazala, of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, believes involving more stakeholders at the Forum is important, “given that traditional Western Governments have lost much of their moral authority”.

And Colombe Cahen, of Volt Europa, adds: “Institutions need to put an emphasis on transparency while involving Europeans in decision making, and enabling them to participate.”

The 2018 Forum’s#RebuildingTrust track will find new ways to make institutions better represent every citizen.

You can join the debate on social media, using the hashtag #RightsForum18 and follow regular updates on this website.

(Articles posted on this blog represent the views and opinions of the authors)

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