How to Build Trust: How Recognition is the Easiest Next Step to Nurturing It

The Power of Trust book coverThe question of trust – can we cultivate it, can we control it, can we rebuild it when it’s broken – is the substance of much debate in organizational development and leadership. A recent post from Harvard Business School shares a book “The Power of Trust” by Sandra Sucher and Shalene Gupta that who reveal a model that professes four key elements:

  • Competence: Is the organization good enough at what it does to engender trust?
  • Motives: Is leadership motivated “to serve the interests of others as well as your own” or is the effort merely window dressing?
  • Means: Are methods employed perceived, among other things, as being fair?
  • Impact: What are the results, good and bad, and do you take responsibility for them?

“This work suggests that trust can be engineered, at least at the organizational level.”

Want to know where to start at the individual and team level? Recognition.

Forever Recognize Other's Greatness by Sarah McVanel book coverResearch with Metrics@Work published in our book “Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness” shows much high trust in the organization when there is high satisfaction with recognition. Since its publication six years ago, having spoken from thousands of individuals about recognition, I have heard time and time again that the way you can break trust is through inauthentic, conditional, and manipulative recognition (eg., I compliment you to get you to say yes to something). Sincere, authentic, and meaningful recognition builds trust. It fuels connection. It boosts collaboration. It instills connection.

Make sense. Recognition, in the context of the model, can be a key way to display “motives” and demonstrates “means”.

Please don’t forget some of the toughest nuts to crack are manageable through small acts of change. Small steps forward. If you want more trust tomorrow, appreciate someone today.

I recently did a series of episodes for Authentic Living with Roxanne, a podcast by my good friend and colleague Roxanne Derhodge where we talked about creating authentic leadership and building trust through recognition.  I invite you to check out these 2 delicious, nugget-filled episodes.  I know you’ll get a ton of great ideas to easily implement for your team!

And here are even more resources to learn about creating trust and authentic recognition for your team:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

Deb Rakonjac

Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

"Sarah nailed it!  She worked with the planning group to learn about the organization, the audience, the desired key messages and integrated it seamlessly into her keynote. Her energy was contagious! We received rave reviews of this portion of our event and Sarah was able to speak to all members of our organization in a way that motivated them to recognize others everyday. Our executives were extraordinarily pleased and integrated FROGging into their recent board meeting. Purolator is grateful to Sarah for dropping the pebble and we continue to see the ripples from this session across the organization. Working with Tami was phenomenal and the supports were easy to integrate to ensure the session went well. Thanks to you both!!"
Douglas D Swift

President & CEO, Swiftco Inc.

"I have had the Sarah experience in numerous settings: As a keynote, around a table with several other business owners, one on one over coffee, chatting with others at a conference reception, dining with a small group of colleagues. No matter the setting you always get the same Sarah: engaging, attentive, interested, inspiring, motivational, genuine. And always with an infectious smile. Do yourself, your company, your association a favour. Get the Greatness Magnified (Sarah) experience. The payback is priceless."
Judy Kucharuk

Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

"Funny, full of energy and incredibly motivating – all words to use when describing Sarah and her passionate stage presence. We were fortunate to have Sarah join us as a speaker for Spark Women’s Leadership Conferences and her presentations about leveraging greatness hit the core of our objective at SPARK: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to other organizations that are searching for a well-prepared, well-organized, thoughtful and passionate storyteller."
Shelley VanVeen

Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

"Sarah brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our International Women’s Day event at Libro! Her message was uplifting, thought-provoking and truly appreciated by our team. Dealing with Sarah was wonderful – she was open, professional and willing to work with us to customize her message to incorporate our culture and connect to our topic and participants. During the session, she was a pro with a powerful message and a fantastic delivery. We had wonderful feedback from all that attended and can’t wait to have Sarah back for another session in the future!"
Sylvia D’Intino

Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

"THANK YOU so very much for leading the engagement activities today! You’re a constant professional, with an amazing attitude and always seeing the great in everyone. I am grateful for how you have helped us this year to transform our in-person staff recognition events into virtual and on-location events. Our staff feel more inspired, appreciated and motivated after they hear you speak, and I know our amazing in-house team here looks forward to designing engaging appreciation events with your support."
Melissa Chaulk

Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

"We work hard at CDHA to give our members a wonderful conference experience, so we were thrilled to have received resoundingly positive feedback on Sarah's opening plenary keynote. It was the highest attended of the entire conference for both dates!"
Jamie Campbell

Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

"Smart, challenging, innovative, committed, dependable, and reliable, I highly recommend her for all your recognition needs. I have brought Sarah into my last two organizations to help build a culture of recognition and celebration. The focus on appreciation is more important now than ever."

Some of the Great Organizations We Serve