Trust. It’s a complicated concept. We all know that we need it, that having it builds stronger relationships, that fostering it in our organizations can create more positive work environments, and that a breach of trust is difficult to rebuild.

As leaders, how do we get our teams, partners, collaborators, clients, funders and other stakeholders to trust us and our organizations? Trust is intangible. It’s not really a hard skill we can learn and in which we can become an ‘expert’. Trust manifests in actions. It is a consistent practice of innumerable behaviours, interactions, reactions, commitments and decisions.

The videos below share a number of perspectives and ways of thinking about trust. Some of the speakers also warn of the risks and dangers experienced by ‘low-trust’ organizations. Building a culture of trust at our organization can impact every aspect of our functionality including sustainability. Trust may not be an aspect of our work as leaders that we consciously focus on, but as these videos show, we may want to include the creation of a trusting working environment as a priority.

What’s trust got to do with it?

In this video, David Horsager shares his passion for trust. He explains that in for-profit, nonprofit, government, professional sports teams, and other industries and sectors, when trust in the organization increases, then many other positive factors also increase: retention, profit, morale, innovation, loyalty and more. Trust is one of the single biggest metrics impacting success and achieving our organizational goals. A lack of trust on the other hand, can have negative ripple effects across the organization. He urges, “It’s worth considering what a lack of trust costs you every single day because it’s more than you might think.” David also explains how trust impacts our support of leaders: “A leader that’s clear about the vision we tend to get unified behind. Clarity is trusted.” Enjoy!

How to build (and rebuild) trust

Frances Frei asserts that there are 3 parts to trust – logic, empathy and authenticity. She shares that trust in often in jeopardy because we have wobbles in one of these three areas. She clearly illustrates for us how we can identify and overcome these wobbles and build trust among the people we lead. On authenticity, she says, “And to the leaders in the room – it is your obligation to set the conditions that not only make it safe for us to be authentic but makes it welcome. Makes it celebrated. Cherishes it for exactly what it is… it is the key for us achieving greater excellence than we have ever known is possible.” An engrossing talk that breaks down how we can begin to assess our trust-ability factor.

Why good leaders make you feel safe

We are surrounded by danger in our world. Whether it’s financial markets, the economy, competition, or in our case, funding priorities, political change and other factors that may undermine the great work our organizations are trying to accomplish. But in this talk, Simon Sinek says that when we build safe places within our organizations, we all learn to trust and cooperate. We achieve greater. Leaders look after the people around them. “When people feel safe and protected by the leadership of the organization, the natural action is to trust and cooperate.”

The surprising ingredient that makes business work better

Marko Alvera characterizes trust in this case as fairness. When we are treated fairly at work and we’re not taking huge risks for a large bonus or other reward but we’re motivated to perform we work better together. When we trust that our organizations have our backs and trust that we’re working hard to achieve the goals that have been set for us, we’re not worried that our next move could get us fired. In a fair system we can take risks. And, he explains, it makes sense: “Science shows that humans have an innate sense of fairness.”

How are you building trust in your organization? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Until next time,


This week’s blog was written by Tina de los Santos. Tina brings a diverse mix of nonprofit and business leadership to her role at PLC. Throughout her career she has been passionate about creating engaging learning experiences that support and inspire people’s professional and personal growth. Tina is our chief knowledge sharer and enjoys digitally connecting with other leaders in Peel to help them find great resources and learning tools.



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