The 3 Types of Trust

Monday 03.25.13There are three different forms of trust, according to The Enemies of Trust a.  The Enemies of Trust  was a 2002 Harvard Business Review article written by leadership experts Robert Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau.

The three different forms of trust are:

  1. Strategic trust—the trust employees have in the people of authority to make the right strategic decisions. For example, do top managers have the revelation and ability to set the right path, perceptively assign assets, fulfill the mission and help the company succeed?
  1. Personal trust—the trust employees have in their managers. Do managers treat employees fairly? Do they consider the needs of their employees’  when making decisions about the business? Do they put the company’s needs ahead of their own?
  2. Organizational trust—the trust people have in the company itself. Are company procedures well designed, consistent and fair? When a company makes a promise, do they see it to fruition?

Undoubtedly, these three types of trust are diverse. They are, however,  related to one another in important ways. For example, whenever a manager disrupts her personal trust, then organizational trust is shaken.

The Trinity of Trust

While many factors add to our observations of dependability, three vital traits comprise “the trinity of trust.” According to management consultant James Robbins in Nine Minutes on Monday, these traits are a follows :

  1. Character: What do your employees see when they look at you? How do they identify your values, work ethic, integrity and honesty? Studies constantly cite honesty as managers’ No. 1 characteristic—simply doing what they say they’ll do. When managers act with honesty and trustworthiness, they lay a foundation on which employees can rely.
  2. Competence: Employees place more confidence in you when they believe you’re proficient in the area of effective leadership. This does not mean you’re the smartest one in the room—a position of power that, in fact, challenges apparent ability. Your managerial competency should not be measured by your technical skills, but by your ability to understand and influence people.
  3. Caring: The utmost ignored component in the trust trinity is the ability to show you care. Employees don’t want to be parts in a wheel. They want to feel that they matter and their bosses actually care about them as people. Only then can they reciprocate with trust.



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