I was listening to MN Public radio and caught a quick statement about trust. One of the guest speakers said that trust depended on two things, if the agency or the person was 1.)well-intended and 2.)competent about the matter at hand.
I thought about this on a few levels, neither on was my relationships to the US Government (the topic of the radio show). Because I often hear about “trust” in Circle. People often use that on the relationship-value plate we create for our Circle center. It’s often mentioned as a “must have” to having a relationship.
I’ve also seen that our customers respond differently based on levels of trust. People participating in Restorative Justice, seem to get more when they understand that the intention behind the process is one of help or healing. It seems our process can go further and deeper when people see Restorative Justice as competent. Some vicitms are able to step outside of the victim role, and see that perhaps the intentions of the offender were not of malice but more of an error in judgement, a mistake. Mistakes have consequences, mistakes don’t mean you are free from being accountable to your behavior. The majority of offenders do take a well-intented approach to repairing the harm. They may not always be comptent in empathy or understanding, but that is where the restorative justice process helps.
The majority of victims are also well-intented in the restorative justice process. I have dealt with a few that wanted to use the process for shaming or punishing. Sometimes people harmed can forget to look at the greater context of the human family, as they are focused on their specific wound. Even in extreme circumstances some victims can trust.
An example, the RJOB, featured a story about two sisters coping with the murder of their sibling. The surviving sisters lived out what they saw as their sisters final wishes. Their sister Nancy, in her last moments alive took her own blood and drew a “Heart” and a “U”. Nancy was murdered, shot by a 16 year-old. This prompted the sisters to advocate against the death penalty and promote life sentances without parole for juveniles (full article). The sisters trusted Nancy.
A new volunteer recently shared that where ever he talks about his volunteer work at SCVRJP, people confirm what a good program that is. He shared this in Circle recently as he was helping help some juveniles. Making the point that there might be something they could take away from the Circle. Our volunteer was delivering that SCVRJP is well-intended and competent.
I work hard at the reputation at our non-profit and I am aware that building relationships takes that. I so appreciate the two pieces I learned today, that being well-intended and competent (or at very least being percieved as such) are cornerstones to trust.
I am sure those around me will appreciate me assuming they are well-intented, and well as making sure I behave out of good intentions. Never underestimate the power of maintaining and building trust, as a person or a non-profit.