Trust in the Workplace

Recently, I have the opportunity to attend an event where David Horsager presented on the topic of driving performance through trust. Mr.  Horsager is the CEO of Trust Edge Leadership Institute and author of two books, The Trust Edge and The Daily Edge, as well as the director of one of the nation’s foremost trust studies: The Trust Outlook.  David has delivered his presentation on six continents to audiences including FedEx, Verizon, Nationwide, P&G, the New York Yankees and even the US Congress.  He is an energetic and engaging speaker whose material is thought-provoking and can be applied to both business and life.

In the presentation, Mr. Horsager discussed trust as a fundamental, bottom line issue. Without it, leaders lose teams, salespeople lose sales, and organizations lose reputation, retention of good people, relationships and revenue. With trust, individuals and organizations enjoy greater creativity, productivity, freedom, and results. The information presented was based on his original and ongoing research in this area and through this research, his 8 pillars of trust was developed.


The 8 Pillars of Trust:

  1. Clarity: People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous.
  2. Compassion: People put faith in those who care beyond themselves.
  3. Character: People notice those who do what is right over what is easy.
  4. Competency: People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable.
  5. Commitment: People believe in those who stand through adversity.
  6. Connections: People want to follow, buy from, and be around friends.
  7. Contribution: People immediately respond to results.
  8. Consistency: People love to see the little things done consistently.


While the presentation I attended did not explore every aspect of these pillars, Mr. Horsager was able to show how through trust leaders can gain faster results, deeper relationships and a stronger bottom line. During the presentation, I couldn’t help but to think of the companies where I have worked and their leaders. I thought about how the leaders were viewed in relationship to trust and how the company preformed. In my case, there was definitely a correlation between the two.

I have only been with CFAES/OSU for a short time, 4 months, and attending this presentation could not have come at a better time.  Right now I am not only learning the policies and procedures of my new role, I am also building relationships with our team, coworkers, and our customers. In building these relationships, I hope to apply the lessons learned from this presentation.  As HR professionals, it is easy to see how our daily interactions depend on trust. With trust, we are able to offer advice, build teams, be more efficient, and be a respected resource for the individuals we support. Building a trustworthy relationships take effort and is an important component in a productive workforce.

If you are interested in more information about David Horsager his website is  There you can see video clips of his presentation, information on his research, links to his books and more.

Article by Chris Shelby, HR Generalist



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