How Do You Define Trust?


I have found that trust is hard to define and everyone has a different concept of what it is and how you build or break it. I am just revising my definition of Trust for the upcoming book, High Performance Relationships, because of this lack of clarity. I actually think that there is something more core and basic than trust, and that is Psychological Safety. So, here’s my definition:

“Trust develops over time and is an outcome of having ongoing experiences of feeling safe with others. Safety is easier to control than trust. Safety can be breached or bridged in the moment to moment interactions we have with others.”

In my work with teams and couples, I have observed that trust usually takes awhile to build or break down. I have found that when I talk with leaders and teams about the idea of psychological safety, it resonates with them and often links with their physical “Safety First” culture. Safety is also easier to notice and shift quickly in a conversation by using “Safety Tools” like paraphrasing, asking for clarification, demonstrating empathy, summarizing, apologizing, etc. What do you think? How do you define and demonstrate trust in your life and relationships at work and home?