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Friday, November 1, 2019

Lean Quote: 4 Components of Relationship Trust

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"If human beings had genuine courage, they'd wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween." — Douglas Coupland

Developing courage as a leader boils down to trust: trusting yourself, trusting other people, and developing an ability to trust in the balance of life overall.

Relational trust, a key aspect of courage, comes from our inner perceptions. We often interpret the behavior of others through costly snap judgments. By being aware of the four components of relational trust below, we can recognize what we’re missing and repair our relational trust.


Respect involves honoring the vital role each person plays in the workplace, and the mutual dependencies among team members. It means making sure all feel their opinions are valued and will be considered. It helps to have meaningful conversations where people get to know each other beyond their job functions.

Personal Regard

In work roles where power dynamics can’t help but exist, people in subordinate positions often feel vulnerable. When the more “powerful” person makes a conscious commitment to relieve uncertainty, the “vulnerable” gain a sense of being cared about. This commitment entails leaders expressing concern about one’s personal life, creating professional development opportunities, or extending themselves beyond what their role requires.


Leaders often make daily, informal observations—positive and negative—about their team members’ capabilities. Rather than an objective process, we often judge others without knowing the whole story. Sometimes we feel blame or shame, and project our own darkness onto others.


In business, integrity is not solely the opposite of immoral and unethical behavior. It requires a shared understanding of your organization’s purpose and values and being committed to living them. 

With the four components of this trust-building framework, you can see where you can take responsibility for ensuring improvement in your own relational trust, and that of your organization.

Courage means trusting yourself to overcome your fears and doing what you are afraid to do. Courage increases conviction and inspires others to confront their fears. 

It takes courage to begin the journey towards our dreams and courage to see them through.

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