As a leader, one of the most important areas of maintenance in your community is cultivating trust. Whether it's a workplace, an event, a family, or anything, trust is a pillar of both your community's health and its productivity.
So how do you increase trust between you and the members of your community? One way to build trust looks like taking risks in favor of others. Here's an example:
Four months ago, I recruited a new member to the advisory board on one of my Discord servers. I knew that she was relatively shy, and she would often hold back on her potential for fear of failure.
Almost immediately after joining the board, however, she pitched a very creative, out-of-the-box idea to increase member retention. I didn't like this idea, and I almost rejected it because there was so much at risk including the loss of a couple of partnerships and many existing members.
However, I remembered that trust is a major part of any risk evaluation. Even if it all goes wrong, is the trust that was built worth it? In this case, the answer was an overwhelming yes. If the idea succeeds, then I will naturally have more trust in her, and so will the rest of the board. If the idea fails, then I will take the opportunity to encourage her.
The idea fell quite flat. We lost a partnership and a good 6% of our members. That's ok. I was supportive and understanding throughout the entire process. I made it very clear to her that her voice had not lost any value to the board. This fully cemented her trust in the board, and the server became stronger because of it.
Basically, I demonstrated to her that I trust her enough to take such heavy risks. This type of trust is absolutely invaluable in any community.
Two months ago she came to me with yet another quite creative idea. She understood the risks involved with this idea, and, considering her reserved nature and self-doubt, I truly believe that she would not have brought this idea to the table had I played it safe months before.
This idea was a wild success, and it made up for the previous loss several fold. The trust that was built when I took that first risk was the pillar that supported the ambition that increased our member count by 19% and our activity by 18% in just 3 weeks.
Never underestimate the value of trust. Remember this question: "Even if it all goes wrong, was the trust that was built worth it?" Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes there's too much at stake. But I think you'd be surprised if you know what risks to take.