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Model for Building Trust

THE OBLITERATION OF trust in recent years has been alarming. Once lost, trust is difficult to rebuild. Leaders need to learn how to build trust consistently and prevent major trust withdrawals. My model for building trust has three elements:

1. Table stakes. These basic building blocks of integrity must be present to kindle trust. In poker, you must ante up table stakes to play. Things like being honest, being open, communicating, being consistent, and being ethical simply must be in play as table stakes or the leader has no chance.

2. Enabling actions. These actions build trust further once the table stakes are present. Here are some examples: following up, advocating well, being fair, and admitting mistakes. These actions enable the leader to withstand trust withdrawals that happen as a result of ill-advised decisions or unfortunate circumstances.

Table stakes and enabling actions are necessary but insufficient conditions for trust to…

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