Three Stories of Communication and Trust

Three Stories of Communication and Trust

We had lived in our new neighborhood for about four months when our neighbors from across the cul-de-sac stop by to let us know that their pool was open and ready for swimming.

Stop by anytime, they told us.

A week or so later, they followed-up with a dinner invitation, and while we enjoyed dinner in their backyard on a cool evening, with our girls elbowing each other around the picnic table and spilling lemonade, they presented us with a key to their home so we could have access to the bathroom when we came over to swim.

It astounded me, the easy trust they communicated with their kind actions.

We trust you enough to open our yard, our pool, and our home to you, they said.

I had been blogging for only a couple of months when I connected with a few leadership bloggers for advice and direction on how to get started. One of them gave me the password to his Typepad account and blog analytics service, so I could get a sense of blog traffic patterns.

Log in anytime, he told me. So I did. And later, when he had a family emergency, I used his login (at his request) to write a post for his readers. I posted on his blog without his review.

I trust you enough to share access with you, he said, with his generous actions.

My new babysitter had only been working for me for a few months when I sent her to the store in my van, with my ATM card, password, and three kids in tow. She has a key to my house and carts my kids wherever they want to go.

I trust you, I tell her: over and over, but not with words.

Although words can communicate trust, more often than not, we demonstrate trust with our actions. As we allow others access into our lives or our organizations, we show them that we trust them. As a leader, you may offer information, resources, authority, or privileges to your employees. Or you may withhold those things.  

Trusting others involves letting go, giving up control, taking risks. 

When you communicate trust, you elevate the status of your employees, giving them a sense of importance, acceptance, and competence. When you withhold trust, your employees may feel disheartened or demotivated.

To communicate trust, start with action. Allow others access to your life by sharing information, resources, authority, or privileges. Astound someone by generous sharing of trust. 

Join the conversation!

What ways do you communicate trust to your employees?

In what ways have you been astounded by others' trust in you?

What barriers do you face in trusting others?

Filed As:  LeaderTalk

About Becky Robinson

I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.

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What People Are Saying

  • Trust is a product of integrity, transparency and good will toward people. It comes naturally when we don’t see a discrepancy between a person’s words and their actions. We all know this, but for some reason, many people have a hard time living.
    Thanks for a reminder of the importance of trust. I wish I had more neighbors like yours.

  • Very important message. Your stories are great. It is about the actions we take. It starts with us – when we live it, it radiates out. Thanks so much for this reminder.

  • Wonderful topic Becky and great examples!
    One of my favorite books is entitled: Trust is Everything -Aneil and Karen Mishra. In the book they state: “Simply put, trusting others means you are willing to be vulnerable to them in the face of uncertainty”
    I find once your able to always “assume good intentions” and pair that with a healthy dose patience then trust emerges.

  • GREAT post, Becky. People can’t fake their way to trust–it’s either earned or it’s not. You’ve obviously earned it and surrounded yourself with others who feel the same about you.

  • Some leaders are more trusting by nature than others. They create a culture of trust around them. Other leaders expect to be taken advantage of by others and create a culture of suspicion and mistrust.
    Do teachers assume students will cheat or trust them to submit their own work? Does your HR office assume you will call in sick to play golf or trust you to do the job you were hired to do? Are you comfortable watching your employees leave for the day or do you wish you could search their briefcases and purses for office supplies they may have lifted?
    I prefer to live and work in a trustful environment and will continue to work to develop trust as standard operating procedures where I can.

  • Wow. An awesome story. Trust is a two way street, but unfortunately know one is willing to start down the road for fear no one will be at the end.

  • To communicate trust, start with action. Allow others access to your life by sharing information, resources, authority, or privileges. Astound someone by generous sharing of trust.

  • A number of years ago I was appointed to lead a team of about fifty folks in a high-stress endeavor. Having a record of the previous pattern of calls for “sick days”, I decided to abandon the concept all together (long story). When I announced “No more sick days allowed”, there was a collective gasp! I proceeded to say that team members didn’t have to be “sick” in order to honor their energy. I said that a simple call claiming a “mental health day” would suffice, no questions asked, and then they could feel free to be seen at the mall or the beach. In the ensuing year, the number of mental health days, previously known as “sick days” dropped significantly. I would actually have people call to take the day off only to show up later! I think this speaks to the spirit of your article, and all the great comments. Wonderful work Becky!

  • This is a great illustration of how trust can be developed in many different ways. I was struck by this article because of the simplicity of the actions that communicated such trust to the receiver.
    I remember –during my job in college at a popular retail store– the first time I was given a key to close the store. It seemed like such a small thing to our owner, but it meant the world to me. I felt trusted and like I was included in a sort of “club.” It made me want to work harder and extend myself more for my boss. This article made me think of that exact situation, and the confidence it gave me.

  • Great article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Trust is definitely the first and the foremost step to every successful communication or relationship whatsoever. But the irony here lies in the fact that nobody is willing to take the first step.

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