Trust: either you have it or you don’t?

When I work with leaders on the topic of trust, I sometimes hear people say, “either you have it, or you don’t.” This is especially true when a leader refers to a workplace relationship where there is low trust. In those cases, leaders report that it seems nearly impossible to communicate effectively or get anything accomplished. Certainly, as Dee Anne suggested in her blog last week, building trust takes time and attention. What I’ve found particularly useful in the myriad of resources from Steven M.R. Covey’s groundbreaking book, The Speed of Trust to the recent work of Ken Blanchard, is that they provide roadmaps for leaders to become skilled at building trust. I’ve become convinced that each of us can get better at building trust.

Recently, a colleague of mine recommended another book, The Trust Edge by David Horsager. He said that it decoded specific actions he needed to take to build trust with his employees, peers, and boss. The book builds upon concepts first introduced by Covey. Horsager affirms through various case studies that when trust goes up in an organization, there is an increase in productivity, morale, retention, innovation, loyalty, and revenue and a corresponding decrease in costs, problems, attrition, skepticism, and stress.

trust edge

What I find helpful in The Trust Edge is that Horsager (a Minnesota native), identifies 8 pillars of trust and uses a workbook-like approach to help leaders reflect on how they build skills in each of the pillars. Here is a sneak peek:

Clarity: People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous

Compassion: People put faith in those who care beyond themselves

Character: People notice those who do what is right over what is easy

Competency: People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable

Commitment: People believe in those who stand through adversity

Connection: People want to follow, buy from and be around friends

Contribution: People immediately respond to results

Consistency: People love to see the little things done consistently

I hope this list has piqued your curiosity. If so, I’d encourage you to go to your local bookstore or library to find a copy and keep reading.

Anita Rios


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