If we want to be effective leaders or experience meaningful relationships, being trustworthy is essential. In their book, Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You, Frances Frei and Anne Morriss share the Trust Triangle, a simple way of understanding how trust is impacted by three drivers.


Logic                          Empathy

You will be trusted when the people you are leading experience:

  • Authenticity: they think that they are interacting with the ‘real’ you.
  • Logic: they know that you are capable; they have faith in your judgment and competence.
  • Empathy: they believe you care about them and their success.

Frei and Morriss challenge their readers to identify their Trust Wobble, the driver that most likely gets shaky in periods of low trust.

  • Authenticity wobble: people feel they are not getting access to the ‘real’ you, to a full accounting of what you think, know, or feel.
  • Logic wobble: people don’t have confidence in the rigor of your ideas or faith in your ability to deliver on them.
  • Empathy wobble: people think you care more about yourself than about others.

Likewise, we might also possess a Trust Anchor, the driver that stays strong and steady in interactions with others and is least likely to wobble.


  1. In moments when trust has broken down or failed to gain traction:
  2. Which of the core drivers of trust tend to get wobbly for you: authenticity, logic, or empathy?
  3. Which of the core drivers are trust anchors for you.
  4. What can you start doing to build more trust with the people around you?

From our team…Willow, Kevin, and Tom…who demonstrate trust anchors for me and each other.

Paul Bernabei
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