Want to Develop Courage? Improve Your Relational Trust

New Book Giveaway!!

20 free copies of The Courage Way: Leading and Living with Integrity.

Leave a comment on this guest post by Shelly L. Francis to become eligible to win one of TWENTY complimentary copies of The Courage Way: Leading and Living with Integrity. 

(Deadline: 2/11/2018)

*International winners will receive electronic versions.

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, named by education researchers Anthony Bryk and Barbara Schneider, 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. It requires reflecting on how you prioritize decisions for the Four Bottom Lines—people, planet, profit, and purpose.

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.

What relationship do you see between courage and trust?

How might leaders build relational trust?

About Shelly L. Francis

The common thread throughout the career of Shelly L. Francis has been bringing to light best-kept secrets, while bringing people together to facilitate positive impact. She does that in the book, The Courage Way: Leading and Living with Integrity, which she wrote on behalf of the Center for Courage & Renewal. She has worked as the Center’s marketing and communications director since 2012.

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