Trust. A word I've analyzed over the last six months. One reason might be that this word was mentioned most frequently by managers when we talked about leadership.

However, when I asked about the meaning and definition of the word "trust," it turned out that this word means different things to different people. Differences were noted between leaders in various industries, but also between countries. These may be small linguistic differences or different uses of the word in professional and private life.

What is the definition of trust?

According to the Polish Language Dictionary, the definition of Trust looks as follows:


  • "the belief that a certain person or institution can be trusted"
  • "the belief that someone's words, information, etc. are true"
  • "the belief that someone has certain skills and can use them appropriately"

to trust

  • "to entrust one's affairs to a person or institution that is trusted"
  • "to consider that someone's words, information, etc. are true"
  • "to acknowledge that someone has certain skills and can use them appropriately"

Fun fact

I was also intrigued by the fact that the explanation of the word Trust in Wikipedia differs in Polish and English. In English, Trust means believing that another person will do what is expected. It brings with it a willingness for one party (the trustor) to become vulnerable to another party (the trustee), on the presumption that the trustee will act in ways that benefit the trustor. In addition, the trustor does not have control over the actions of the trustee.

In English, the definition includes a word that is so important: 'vulnerable', which means sensitive or susceptible. Although this doesn't entirely convey the accuracy or significance of this word in direct translation.

But let's get back to practice.

Often during workshops, I hear and see that trust is a part of leadership programs. Trust is one of the most important elements of leadership training.

I often ask at training sessions, what is trust for you? In most cases, the answer was that it's when I can tell someone something or assign them a task and be sure that it will remain confidential. In other words, the secrecy of the entrusted information. Another example of how participants understand trust is entrusting someone to do something, having the confidence that the person will do it on time and in the right way.

However, I've noticed a difference between understanding the word trust as an individual and also in a group context, such as in society or a team. Delving deeper into this topic, I found that trust can be considered through the lens of social sciences. But also psychology, philosophy, economics, and even finance. There is a difference in how the word trust is perceived among ethnic groups, different nationalities, and experiences among teams.

I am analyzing how trust affects leadership and team building.

I often wonder what this word would mean to me, because understanding it seems most important. For me, the closest definition of trust was presented by Barbara Misztal. She described three functions of trust: trust makes social life predictable, creates a sense of community, and facilitates collaborative work among people.

Everyone agrees that trust is important and necessary in a team and culture. However, we rarely discuss how to build it and, most importantly, how to maintain and not lose it. Or whether such trust can be rebuilt?

The meaning of this word for each of us varies, as demonstrated by practice, theory, and science—this word means different aspects to different people. Trust often appears in corporate strategies for building a culture of CARE.

How many of us have lost trust in people at various points in our lives? However, I still have hope; we believe that this trust remains our value. There remains this desire to build trust, in people, in the company, in the team, and even in the country. I am still learning and constantly trying to understand this word, trust. At the beginning of every relationship, I try to give a lot of trust, to be open, to be helpful, and definitely not to play games.

Every change in our lives doesn't begin with a goal...

So often, they present it to us in books. Every change begins with the question of who I am, what values ​​I have, and by what values ​​I define my decisions and choices. I hope that trust will always be built on openness, honesty, care, credibility, listening, and the ability to admit mistakes.

By no means do I present my thoughts as a psychologist, coach, or any other person who deals with this topic on a daily basis. I am presenting my own thoughts here. Because often during meetings with leaders or CEOs, they often talk about trust as one of the most important elements of building culture. However, this difference in understanding the word trust gives food for thought. One of the most valuable lessons for me is that trust is not just words (although they are important) or their absence. Trust is primarily about actions, which speak louder than words.

For me, Trust is the freedom to be myself. Knowing that even in the most critical moments, my weaknesses will not be used against me.

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