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The Symptoms of a Trust Issue

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Guest Contributor: Natalie Doyle Oldfield

When companies have symptoms such as: flat or declining sales, low morale, no customer referrals, or the loss of a key customer or employee, how often do they know the cause is connected to trust?  


Granting trust is a leap of faith. It can take minutes, hours and days to build trust, and seconds to lose it. 


The Impact of Trust in Business 

To gain insight into the topic of trust, we reached out to Natalie Doyle Oldfield, President of Success Through Trust and author of The Power of Trust: How Top Companies Build, Manage and Protect It. She is recognized as one of the world’s top Thought Leaders in Trust for five consecutive years, is a contributor to Forbes and featured in The Economist as a Business Trust Expert . 


What you do to gain trust as a leader is imperative to your success — to a high performing team’s success. All our work with leaders includes the topic as a gauge of the health of trust in a team, and between team members. Our data and experience show the foundational building blocks that need to be in place for a team and company to succeed, and trust is a must. Trust is not a team dynamic that can be left on autopilot. One wrong decision or statement can instantly reel an employee and team into a state of distrust. Great work can’t be done when trust doesn’t exist. 


The Imperative Role of Trust in Leadership 


Let’s start with the definition of trust. Natalie shares, “Trust is a belief that someone will act in another’s best interests, and they will be reliable, able and honest. It encompasses a whole set of values and characteristics, including reliability, transparency, authenticity, accountability, honesty, consistency and commitment. My proprietary framework and models are evidence based. The data reveals when we are evaluating another’s trustworthiness, we assess how they communicate, how they behave and how they serve.”  


How does that specifically relate to the leader-employee relationship equation? Natalie sees it clearly. “As an employer, we trust our employees to represent our company values, deliver on the company promises and act with integrity. As employees, we want to work with authentic leaders who we trust, and who will support us and act in our best interests.” 


Trust between managers and employees is of heightened relevance now. Trust is being challenged as people are insistent about working from home despite the mandating of back-to-office policies and the expectations.  


“All kinds of trust issues have come to the surface over this topic,” Natalie says, adding that it’s one of the biggest trends her company is following. “When a leader is trusted by their team, the team will communicate and collaborate to a higher degree. If an employee trusts their manager, offers more creative and innovative ideas, and takes more risks, they will be more engaged as a result. The foundation of empowerment is trust.” 



Trust Challenges in a Multigenerational Workforce 

The second trend she is seeing relates to various generations coexisting in the workplace. “Boomers and Gen X’ers  in management roles are struggling to understand Gen Z and millennial  employees. Millennials are overtaking boomers as the largest group currently in the workforce.” She continues, “The issue of trust in the workforce between these generations is forcing companies to drastically update their old management practices, or risk being labeled as an undesirable place to work.” 


As we look at high-performing teams, universally held trust is key to yielding performance and results. But if the opening referenced statement is true about how long it takes to build trust, how do high-performing teams that are relatively new to each other (in the forming and storming stage of Tuckman’s Team Maturity Model) build trust at a faster pace without compromising deliverable results? 


Trust-Building Blueprint: The Eight Principles 

Natalie developed a proprietary framework and predictive trust- building model that consists of eight principles. “Learning how to build, manage and protect a relationship of trust is a leadership imperative. It is a skill that can be cultivated and developed.  It starts with applying the eight principles of trust in each and every interaction.  


The Eight Principles of a Trust- Building Model  

  • Listen carefully with empathy and compassion. Ask questions and involve the customer or stakeholder in a dialogue 

  • Communicate using clear, concrete and conversational language 

  • Be honest and transparent 

  • Be consistent, predictable and reliable 

  • Act in the best interests of the employees, customers, stakeholders and the public 

  • Do the right thing. If you make a mistake, fix it 

  • Deliver on your promise 

  • Commit to the long term 

© Natalie Doyle Oldfield, 2023 Source : The Power of Trust: How Top Companies Build, Manage and Protect It.   

Establishing a Baseline for Trust 

Trust is built through relationships. Strong and effective working relationships contain trust. 


A scan of your closest network will reveal who you trust the most. Pause and reflect on what has led to (and preserves) that important relationship status of those you value the most. 


Natalie Doyle Oldfield is one of the people in our trusted network. We are so grateful for our relationship and her willingness to share her work with us. Her book,   The Power of Trust: How Top Companies Build, Manage and Protect It, is in our library. If you think you could benefit from someone who can answer your question, “What is our state of trust?,” please reach out to her at 


About Natalie Doyle Oldfield  


Natalie Doyle Oldfield has been named one of the world’s Top Trust Thought Leaders by Trust Across America for five consecutive years, and is the author of The Power of Trust: How Top Companies Build, Manage and Protect It 

Recognized as one of Canada’s Most Inspiring Women Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs by CanadianSME Small Business Magazine , Natalie is on a mission to guide organizations to become the most trusted in their industry. She works with companies and their customers, stakeholders and colleagues to earn their loyalty and unshakeable trust. Known as a strategic insight provider, she is a pioneer in the field of mastering client and employee relationships.   

Natalie’s training programs, trust measurement system, tools and her proprietary Trust-Building Model  are based on science and evidence. Many of the world’s best-managed companies apply her award-winning practical model to retain their customers and increase referrals. Named as a Business Trust Expert by The Economist , Natalie is also  a keynote speaker and frequent podcast guest and contributor to Forbes.   

A former Chief Marketing Officer in the ICT industry, she spent 25 years in business before founding Success Through Trust in 2013. 


About Lisa W. Haydon


Lisa W. Haydon is a seasoned operational leader and entrepreneur with over three decades of experience in banking, capital markets, technology, and professional services.  


With a keen vision for aligning people, processes, and outcomes, Lisa has become a driving force in the field of leadership development. She brings innovation to the forefront by leveraging data-driven strategic cohort programs, generating value-added insights, and adopting AI-enabled technology. Her pioneering work with high-growth companies and high-performance leaders led to the design and commercialization of a proprietary leadership diagnostic solution. 


She is known for her unique ability to navigate complex business challenges, understand diverse leadership styles, and deliver transformational results. 


Lisa and her team are a group of forward-thinking, technology- and people-focused professionals who become a trusted partner in the pursuit of leadership-driven success. 




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