Interpersonal Leadership: Trust-Building
“Job One: Leaders Build Trust Within” (SL#84)
[Three Study Resource Abstracts with Notations by Lloyd Elder, Th.D.]

Why is “developing trust within” being presented as “job one?” Because that represents my own judgment, and, also most research sources affirm that trust begins within a person, with self-understanding and wholeness. This same reality is true of those of us who live and work in the service of Christ. The local congregation greatly benefits from such a view of trust. Introducing resources for a continued study of trust-building is one of the purposes of this set of articles. The following three abstracts support several of the components of trust-building presented in these three resource abstracts. Their contribution and redundancy make contributions to a critical understanding of trust, such as:


A. Study Resource Abstract: Prepared (June, 2007) by Lloyd Elder, Th.D.
“Developing and Maintaining Interpersonal Trust
from Reaching Out: Interpersonal Effectiveness and Self-Actualization (6th edition)
by David W. Johnson. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1996 (Chapter 3, pp. 73-103)

David Johnson treats trust and trustworthiness as components of internal wholeness and healthy relationships--about who you are and what you do as a person, not primarily as a leader. In chapter 3, Reaching Out includes “trust” as one essential interpersonal skill--its definition, development, practices, and personal assessment. Johnson's book is a most valuable resource by a practicing, teaching, consulting, and research authority with more than 300 publications to his credit. Key insights are reported for personal reflection and application:


B. Study Resource Abstract: Prepared (June 2007) by Lloyd Elder, Th.D.
“Trust: Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential”
from The Other 90%™: How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Life and Leadership by Robert K. Cooper. New York: Crown Business, 2001

Robert K. Cooper has lectured widely and designed leadership development programs for nationally recognized business organizations. When he was 14 years of age his grandfather, Hugh Cooper, Sr., gave him a framed memorabilia, a challenge and a living example that changed his life henceforward:

“Give the world the best you have and the best will come back to you.”

1. The Four Keystones of The Other 90%™

That is, every day keep on living up to your full potential. Through the years Cooper has developed and passed on to others “the other 90% concept” based on his grandfather's premise. Human intelligence and spirit are two of the most amazing creations we know, yet “we use only about 10% of our potential in the course of a lifetime.” Later studies indicate that we use not one-tenth but one ten-thousandth of our capabilities (p. xvi).

2. The First of the Four Keystones Is Trust

Trust is expressed in specific daily actions, not just good plans. Cooper provides cogent insights as a part of the total life experiences and contributions (pp. 1-62):

3. The Other Three Keystones for Unlocking Your Potential

The other three keystones interact with “trust” to expand your larger leadership and life experience.

4. Reflection: Your Own Case Study

What great, life-changing “sayings” or concepts have been passed along to you by your grandfather or others? How have you built your life around them? Will you use those sayings and this “abstract” to describe how you will build trust? Cooper affirms a lofty challenge for us all: “The next frontier is not only in front of you, it is inside you. You have a vast hidden potential and a destiny beckoning to be lived. So do we all. No one else can live it in your place.” (p. xvii)


C. Study Resource Abstract: Prepared (June 2007) by Lloyd Elder, Th.D.
“Trust: Lessons In Search of Honor”
from In Search of Honor: Lessons from Workers on How to Build Trust
by Adele B. Lynn. Belle Vernon, VA: Bajon House Publishing, 1998 (See pp. 3-91)

In Search of Honor addresses the cumulative voice of a thousand employees of all kinds. It reports the common wisdom and experience of one thousand everyday workers and becomes a practical philosophy for leaders who care about people and institutions. Lynn presents four keys “in the workers' search for honor.”

The first key, “Trust Comes First” presents four elements of trust defined by the interviewed employees. Lynn summarizes these as “four factors that build trust.” Her graphic analogy shows an hour glass with the sand of these four elements flowing through the glass neck to become trust:

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© 2007; hosted and copyrighted by Lloyd Elder & Associates, Inc.
For full citation of referenced works, see Bibliography/Links at
Adapted by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., Founding Director, Moench Center for Church Leadership