Collaborative Leadership Blog

The Meaning of Trust

Lao Tzu once said of trust: “Those who are trustworthy he trusts; And those who

are not trustworthy he also trusts. [In this way] he gets their trust.”

We live in a time of great distrust, not only of civil, political and economic institutions, but also of each other, and even of our prospects for the future. We yearn for relationships and organizations that operate with integrity, honor, transparency, and grace. It is possible.

Trust is the core of our very existence, and it starts within each of us—our character, values, beliefs and actions toward others. As a gift to others, even those not trustworthy, our own trustworthiness can be the pebble in the pond that ripples across our society. To paraphrase Gandhi, we need to be the trust we want to see.

The trust challenges we face are to create family and work cultures based on the principles of dignity, respect, and integrity, to address the root causes of distrust wherever it exists, and to work collectively to solve the most pressing problems of our world.

It starts with each of us—inside-out.