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Building or Busting Trust

TXTS4 Leaders List

Building or Busting Trust

Leslie Beauchamp

High-trust environments are places where staff work collaboratively and respond to changes fluidly with the knowledge that they all have the same intent, even if they disagree passionately on the best ways to get there.  High-trust environments allow leaders to occasionally say the wrong thing or say something in the wrong way and people give grace and concentrate on a leader’s intent.  


For the next two weeks we will look at leadership moves that affect trust.  This week, we will focus on actions that erode trust in you.  Next week, after you have reflected on your own behaviors, we will look at actions that build trust.  Consider your actions in the past few weeks: 


Trust Buster 1. Not Listening. How frequently do you… 

Ask people for input, but then ignore their ideas? Interrupt when others are talking? Prepare your own response while others are still talking? 


Trust Buster 2. Trying to Save Time at the Expense of Others. How frequently do you… 

Reprimand the entire group for the actions of a few individuals? Fail to include all who are involved in a situation? Address criticisms when it is most convenient for you, without considering how the timing affects others? 


Trust Buster 3. Saying One Thing, but Doing Another. How frequently do you… 

Fail to follow through with an announced plan of action? Tell one group to do something that conflicts with what you have told others? Change your mind about an announced plan of action on the basis of the most recent conversation? 


Trust Buster 4. Gossiping. How frequently do you… 

Break confidences when you share with others? Talk about others in an unkind or unfair way? Exaggerate the facts? Share information that isn't helpful or necessary?

(Combs, Harris, & Edmonson, 2015, p. 21)


This week notice and stop making any of these moves.  Next week, we will look at how to build or repair trust.  


Combs, J, Harris, S, and Edmonson, S.  “Four Essential Practices for Building Trust:  Are you communicating in a way that inspires trust?”  Educational Leadership.  72(7).  18-22.