Organizational Trust

By: Janet Watts

Leaders Empower Their Followers

“Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is Trust?

•Trust is an individual's or group’s willingness to be vulnerable to another party based on the confidence that the latter party is benevolent, reliable, competent, honest, and open.


  • Most common element of trust; it is confidence that those things one cares about will not be harmed.
  • "accepted vulnerability to another's possible but not expected ill will"
  • When there is no trust in the benevolence of the principal, teachers become excessively concerned about both real and imagined harm.


  • Extent to which behavior is predictable and benefits the other party.
  • Not consistent behavior that combines with benevolence to be predictably well intentioned.


  • The ability to perform according to appropriate standards.
  • Good intentions are not enough, tasks must be carried our completely
  • Disorganized administrator will unlikely to elicit trust from the faculty.


  • Refers to an individual's character, integrity, and authenticity.
  • Trust is defined as "the expectancy that the word, promise, verbal or written statement of another individual or group can be relied upon"
  • Integrity transferred into deeds.


  • A process in which relevant information is shared and often creates vulnerability to another.
  • Signals confidence in both parties that neither the information nor the individual will be exploited
  • Principals who hide information, provoke suspicion

Usefulness to Administrators

  • The capacity to trust is important for individual development of satisfying relationships that nurture personal growth.
  • Crucial for the sharing of information, networking, and implementing changes in the workplace.
  • Development of productive team relationships
  • Reflection on their personal capabilities and fitness for leadership