Communication Playground

Trust – the ultimate source of being a leader

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled over the Ted Talk from Frances Frei on the topic “How to build (and rebuild) trust“. I admit I have a slight addiction to TED talks and love to watch them but this one is definitely one of my top three TED talks I have seen so far. If you can spare 15 minutes of your time it is defintely worth watching. The story is told in the context of Uber and therefore in a business setting. But in my opinion her insights are also applicable to private life.

Frances Frei key ingredients to build trust are:

  • Authenticity
  • Logic
  • Empathy

If you wobble as she calls it in any of this areas you are in trouble. Sometime ago I wrote a blog post on “Why authentic leadership is right for project management“. The TED talk from Frances Frei highlights authenticity only as one factor on the way to build trust. And she is right – the other two ingredients are equally important.

Who would trust somebody when you cannot follow their communication, actions or thoughts? Being logic doesn’t always mean to me that I fully understand somebody else. Sometimes other people are able to see far more ahead than you are. Or have different point of views which you cannot understand, at least not in this very moment. Being logic means for me  that I can see where he or she is coming from and even more important – where he or she is going. In my point of view being logic also means to be able to explain your reasoning, to have a clear direction and to be able to explain any changes you need to make on the way (which will always happen).


Empathy should be a no brainer – why should anyone be in for you if they are not convinced you are in for them? And the best way to show your empathy in today’s fast paced workplace is to take the time to listen to people’s concerns, thoughts or ideas.

The third key ingredient – authenticity – is probably the hardest one. Being authentic means to be the best and true version of yourself. It means to expose your true personality while still being aware of your actions. But it also means to stop playing a role and to hide things which you think people might not like.

Although I would probably not have been able to name it to the point before watching the talk from Frances Frei her three key ingredients are really important to me in my daily work, especially when leading teams. I know that I wobble once in a while on certain aspects and that I probably can do better especially when I am stressed.  But I will keep working on those elements to become a better leader.







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