The truth about trust

Illustration by David Vanadia

Every leader knows that trust is important, but Cory Scheer has quantified it. A national study he co-authored showed that 51 percent of workers did not have a high level of trust in their leaders. And low levels of trust result in significantly lower loyalty (66 percent) and productivity – a massive “trust gap.” Leaders’ view of their own trustworthiness was 31 percent higher than their employees’ assessment. Scheer, who has been a pastor and university administrator, researched trust for his dissertation and now leads TrustCentric, a consulting firm. Here are some of his thoughts, excerpted from In Trust Center’s Good Governance podcast.

The trust proposition: A value proposition is about taking action and steps on the worth of something; a trust proposition is about taking action on the truth of something. So, how is it that we as an organization are taking action on truth? That is a vital element for every organization to really wrestle with and to ensure that everything they’re doing is aligned with their commitment to deepening the firm belief in the truth of something, to establishing trust.

Building blocks: The research shows three building blocks of trust. The first is competency – of policies, procedures, practices, and the people. The second is intentional effort to solve problems in the right way, and not just the process of solving problems, but also defining the actual problems to solve. The third is demonstrating care for others and that, statistically speaking, is the hardest building block for organizations to grow in.

Power of listening: The number one way to strengthen trust for others is by active listening – to your employees, students, volunteers, and those in the community. And it’s from that act of listening that we begin to identify concerns, challenges, and problems, and then we apply as competently as possible the things that we have at our disposal. And when you combine those three elements, your organization will become more trustworthy.


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