The Spectrum Of Trust


I’ll let you in on a little secret…

We do not trust everyone in our lives and work equally.


I said it.

Wow, you expected that to be more dramatic.

That statement may seem obvious, but we also get fooled into thinking that we are supposed to just blindly trust everyone equally on our teams and in our organizations. But, as you fully know, we are human beings and that is just not realistic. So, you now have my permission to take the pressure off yourself.

Trust is one of the most critical characteristics of high performing teams, healthy relationships, and organizations that thrive in bringing a compelling mission into action in the world. So, it may not be realistic (or smart) to just blindly trust everyone along your path, but building and strengthening trust is vital to the effectiveness of your efforts.

This is why I speak to teams and organizations about The Spectrum of Trust. Everyone on your team or within your organization lies somewhere along your own spectrum of trust. On one end of the spectrum are the people that you have established a high level of trust with. And at the other end are those who you have little experience with. Everyone lands on the spectrum, but every relationship has the opportunity to move the needle toward higher levels of trust.

The truth is that trust is built over time and is given to those around us in small pieces at a time. We are always building it or deteriorating it with those around us. So, what are a few things to remember when trying to raise the level of trust within your relationships, team or organization?

  • Experiences Matter — we build it by sharing experiences with one another. The good and the bad. It takes time and shared experiences to grow and develop a level of trust with another human being.
  • It’s A Two-Way Street — both people in a relationship are responsible for the health and progress of the relationship. Extending trust and efforts to build it must be reciprocated. It will require time to establish a two-way street relationship, but we can’t just sit back and think we’re trustworthy and demand that others must come to us to experience our trust. It’s not a One-Way relationship, it must be Two-Way.
  • It’s Intentional — For those who we have lower levels with, we must intentionally plan experiences and conversations that will challenge us to stimulate progress. It takes intentional action and planning. And, for those who we have higher levels with, we can’t let those relationships become stagnant. Fuel your relationships intentionally with the spirit you want to strengthen.

The best teams proactively build their culture by providing consistent messages, engaging experiences, and clarity about the type of leadership they expect from all within their organization. They provide opportunities to build and develop new skills and experiences that engage the minds and hearts of their members.

Good luck on the next leg of your journey!

Travel Gracefully,


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Jason Barger is the globally celebrated author of Step Back from the Baggage Claim and ReMember, as well as a coveted keynote speaker and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend.

Follow on Twitter @JasonVBarger and learn more at


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