Building Trust

The blog “Slow Leadership” recently had a good post about Building Trust. An excerpt from the article is:

Trust is an essential basis for a productive, satisfying and fun business environment. Suspicion corrodes working relationships and undermines people’s confidence in themselves and their colleagues. Leaders need to offer trust, since the only way to prove whether others are trustworthy or not is by experience. Organizational leaders have nearly all the power, so it’s usually up to them to set the ball rolling. Trust is always a gift. As a leader, you need to be the one who begins the giving process.

On the flip side, think about the following comment by a VP of a US company taken from the Autumn 2006 special edition of Strategy+Business from a story about Participative Management. The comment is the VP’s thoughts of Participative Management and how it wouldn’t work in most American companies. The VP says that the only way for this type of management style to succeed is:

…for the company to have complete trust in you (the employee). We make them (employees) earn it first; we don’t assume the trust (Fisher, 2006, p.42).

I wonder if the employees of the US company that this VP works for would say that he is a great person to work for and that they love their jobs? After doing some digging on the company, it appears that it isn’t the ideal place to work and that there are a lot of employee relation problems. Perhaps if the leaders of this company were to step out in front and offer trust to their employees instead of requiring them to “earn” it, there would be less problems.


  • Fisher, L. M. (2006, Autumn 2006). Ricardo Semler Won’t Take Control. Strategy+Business, (Special Issue), pp. 32 – 43.

[tags] Leadership, Participative Management, Building Trust, Strategy+Business [/tags]

One response to “Building Trust”

  1. Jerome Alexander Avatar
    Jerome Alexander

    Employees come to work with an implicit trust that their managers are always working for the best interest of the company and its employees. That trust should not and cannot ever be taken for granted. Look what is happening today. It is no longer “What’s good for the company is good for the manager.” It has become “What’s good for the manager is good for the company.” Top executives have totally lost sight of this phenomenon and are allowing managers to run amok for their own personal agendas.
    Several years ago I wrote a book on the subject of workplace culture and employee morale. It is as relevant today as it was then. Employee morale is directly linked to the interaction of employees with line managers who are charged with executing the policies and strategies of companies. Unfortunately, many of these managers subvert the good intentions of the organization to meet their own personal goals and agendas at the expense of their peers and subordinates. This management subculture is the result of a corporate culture of ignorance, indifference and excuse. Better corporate level leadership is the key. Read more in “160 Degrees of Deviation: The Case for the Corporate Cynic.”

    Jerome Alexander