Trust during a pandemic is hard to get and hard to earn

Posted on December 16, 2020

Trust is abstract and how to build it can seem confusing, even bewildering, wrote The Globe and Mail Careers Dec. 12 in an article about managers responding to the challenge of the pandemic. Too often we assume trust flows from competence, says Jordan Berman, a vice-president at the Canadian pharmaceutical company Apotex and author of the recent book The Trust Trifecta. [Berman is also a facilitator with the Schulich ExecEd.] If you can get stuff done, supposedly people will trust you. But he says that focus on the “what” of managerial life – goals and achievements – ignores the equally important “how,” the manner in which we accomplish our objectives.

On that score, he says people trust you when they feel they “know” you; feel you’re being straight with them; and when you talk and behave in a consistent manner. That leads to the three elements of his trust trifecta: communicating consistently, transparently and authentically.

Interestingly, Berman over the years has found authenticity is where leaders struggle the most. They are afraid to let their guard down and be who they are naturally because it seems to violate the executive code. He doesn’t suggest you become an open book and bare your soul routinely to colleagues. But he does urge you to convey the same compassion, sincerity and honesty when you speak in a professional setting as in conversations with close friends.


Jordan Berman is the facilitator for Schulich ExecEd’s Managing Change, Conflict and Communications program (starting Feb. 5, 2020). For more information and to register, visit the program web page.