How Leaders Build Trust at Work Through Authenticity

It’s no surprise that successful companies are built on trusting relationships. In this excerpt, Carley Hauck, author of Shine: Ignite Your Inner Game to Lead Consciously at Work and In the World, explores how we can harness authenticity to fuel the process of building trust.

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How much trust does your organization experience? That’s the first question I ask when I do a culture assessment with the businesses I serve. Trust is the essential ingredient and foundation for all relationships and businesses. Without trust, you can’t build anything that will succeed for the long term, and any kind of organizational change will be seriously challenged.

Organizational scholars define trust as our willingness to be vulnerable to the actions of others because we believe they have good intentions and will behave well toward us. In other words, we let others have power over us because we don’t think they’ll hurt us; we think they’ll help us and have our backs. When the trust level is high within coworker relationships, it corresponds to trusting the company that employs us, and we feel confident it won’t deceive us or abuse its relationship with us. 

But what are the mechanics of this? How do we trust? In order to trust someone, especially someone who is unfamiliar to us—which means we haven’t had the opportunity to develop trust yet—our brains build a model of what the person is likely to do and why.…