“Poverty of trust”

A very good friend of mine from Croatia (thank you, Hrvoje!) has recently invited me to an international online meeting, attended by 40 + different business leaders from around the world. The main theme for the session was the importance of building and strengthening the trust. The meeting, and in particular some of the expressions used, was quite revealing.

Whilst going through the process of being approved as a candidate in the next local elections, I had an opportunity to spend one Saturday morning with some of my colleagues, who are very experienced campaigners.

After spending a few hours on the campaign train and attending an insightful business meeting, I wonder what is the key to a successful political, business or social campaign? What is the one vital component needed to build sustainable relationships or enhance existing economical models? In my view, it is the trust, the trust, which is a “glue of life”. It is the trust, which holds relationships, helps to improve our performance and which is often called upon in the moment of crisis.

During the meeting, the speaker talked about the “poverty of trust”. I find this expression extremely powerful. I used to think about poverty purely in financial and economic terms. However, today, also because of the pandemic, we can suffer from social, cultural or spiritual poverty. Poverty can’t be defined in one way and it has a wide range of definitions.

While canvassing and talking to residents, I understood that it is often difficult to win elections without winning people’s trust. However, as we all have been experiencing in recent years, this trust is so easily lost and it is often so hard to rebuild. So what’s the answer to some of the challenges, which many of the campaigns experience, when faced with political apathy and democratic disengagement? In my view, there are a few basis rules, which can help to break “political barriers”:

  • Being authentic
  • Not being afraid to admit that there might be gaps in our knowledge
  • Being genuinely interested in people’s views, even if they are different than ours
  • Trying to listen to understand and not listen to respond
  • Trying to be the first to trust, without prejudice

I am aware that any elections, local or national, are about “winning”. Although gathering and analysing data, checking whether a particular resident is willing to support us is crucial, we must never forget that building trust is the key to an improved social engagement, better, more fulfilling and meaningful participation.

* Michal Siewniak is a Lib Dem activist and former councillor

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Michael BG
    Simon R The restraints on government spending are not the amount they can borrow but the amount they should spend. It is too much money chasing too few goods...
  • Simon R
    Great to see the practical suggestions in this article, both for how to get more people and women from ethnic minorities involved in politics, and to get more p...
  • Simon R
    @Nonconformistradical: Sure, and you need to make sure the system being used is accurate. That's the responsibility of the developers of the system, working wit...
  • George Thomas
    New Zealand deal is worth between -.01 and +0.1 to the economy and puts farmers across the UK at a disadvantage which is especially worrying in places such as N...
  • Jeff
    Roland 21st Oct '21 - 7:34pm: …with the current downward pressure on oil consumption, we can expect there to be a glut of oil in the world market i...