The Neuroscience of Trust

An interesting HBR piece by Paul Zak:

The Neuroscience of Trust 

Based on his more than decade long research, Paul argues that creating an organization in which employees remain highly engaged in the long-term goes can be enabled by creating a high-trust culture. His research shows that higher levels of trust lead to noticeable improvements in performance.

In his research, Paul identified 8 managerial behaviors that foster trust:

  1. Recognize excellence
  2. Induce “challenge stress” (achievable stretch goals)
  3. Give people discretion in how they do their job
  4. Enable job crafting
  5. Share information broadly
  6. Intentionally build relationships
  7. Facilitate whole-person growth
  8. Show vulnerability

Finally, Paul leaves use with a memorable rule-of-thumb insight to keep in mind:

Joy = Trust * Purpose


Even though the level of academic rigor here does not fully meet my bar, there is real disciplined scientific research that’s backing Paul’s thesis in this piece; which sadly is more that can be said for the vast majority of HBR pieces that attempt to make claims with a similar level of certainty.


The Neuroscience of Trust

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