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?