The Trust Equation

Do your colleagues and students trust you?

Trustworthiness is worth it’s weight in gold but what factors combine to make up this essential quality?

The trust equation says an individual’s trustworthiness is equal to their credibility, reliability and intimacy, all divided by their level of self-orientation.

This clear, simple and relatable model of trust was something Charlie Green co-wrote about in The Trusted Advisor, Trust-Based Selling, and The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.

The trust equation, or more accurately the trust worthiness equation, is explained here by Charlie Green and also in the following video:


In a classroom without trust between teacher and students there is no real relationship and there won’t be much respect. There certainly won’t be any security or comfort and these are vital ingredients when it comes to learning.

Teachers have to build trust and that takes time if you are new to a school. Your reputation might help in that others speak highly of you and your trustworthiness is visible but still, it’s a process.

Trust between staff is key to building a positive and healthy school culture. When you have trust running through the veins of a school then you have teacher and student motivation, professional learning, sharing and collaboration focused on school improvement.

When a school has a trust culture then the whole community tend to have more psychological safety and fewer social threats.

Want to know more?

Ken Blanchard in Trust Works provides a simple framework for understanding, communicating, developing and assessing trust and in his model identifies four areas:

A – Able – demonstrate competence
B – Believability – act with integrity
C – Connected – care about others
D – Dependable – maintain reliability

Blanchard’s ABCDs of trust says that by focusing on these areas that individuals can become more trustworthy, build more effective relationships and become better leaders.

Want something else?

How about being trusted as a professional?

Pasi Sahlberg and Timothy D. Walker suggest seven key principles for building a culture of trust in schools, from offering clinical training for future teachers to encouraging student agency to fostering a collaborative professionalism among educators.

See their book In Teachers We Trust: The Finnish Way to World-Class Schools and find out more here: 

Remember, other trust models are available!

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