Leadership & the Trust Triangle

A recent Harvard Business Review article, “Begin With Trust” suggests that trust is the basis for almost everything we do.

“Trust is the reason we’re willing to exchange our hard-earned paychecks for goods and services, pledge our lives to another person in marriage, cast a ballot for someone who will represent our interests…,” authors Frances X. Frei and Anne Morriss explain.

Trust is also an essential component of effective leadership. But, as the article states, building trust often requires thinking about leadership from a new perspective.

“The traditional leadership narrative is all about you: your vision and strategy; your ability to make the tough calls and rally the troops… but leadership really isn’t about you. It’s about empowering other people as a result of your presence, and about making sure that the impact of your leadership continues into your absence.”

Unfortunately, as illustrated in the article’s real world example, people are too often put in leadership roles without having had the proper training or mentorship to be effective; and they struggle to build or inspire trust.

The Trust Triangle
One way to better understand how to become more trustworthy is to understand the three key drivers of trust. Thus, the “trust triangle” illustrated below.

“People tend to trust you when they believe they are interacting with the real you (authenticity), when they have faith in your judgment and competence (logic), and when they feel that you care about them (empathy). When trust is lost, it can almost always be traced back to a breakdown in one of these three drivers.”

The “Trust Triangle”

To build trust as a leader, you first need to figure out which driver you wobble on and take corrective action.

Read the full article…