event podcast

Building Trust in a Crisis ft. David Horsager

One of our favorite guests is back this week! David Horsager joins us to talk about building trust in a pandemic, how leaders communicate during times of change, and his new book, Trusted Leader.

Tell us about your new book.

I am super excited about it, its called Trusted Leader. It’s a special book to me for many reasons, the Trust Edge came out almost a decade ago, and that book was really research driven and takeaway driven. But this next book is sharable. The first half is a fun engaging parable to shift thinking about trust. And the second half are these new ideas and takeaways that we can use a leaders to build trust right away. 

Okay the book is called “Trusted Leader”, that’s kinda a hot topic in the past year…

Here’s the deal, our fastest opportunity to build trust is in crisis. It’s also our fastest opportunity to lose it. I have watched senior leaders earn trust in this time through their response and I’ve also watched people lose trust in this time. And they lose it or gain it fast. I believe trust is the leading indicator, the only reason you follow a leader is trust, all of the other reasons lag behind. Leadership issues are really trust issues. I’ve seen senior leaders build trust while laying off 2,000 people, and I’ve seen people lose trust that haven’t had to lay off anyone. 

What are some examples of leaders building trust in the pandemic?

Yes, I talk about getting granular to the ‘How’. But change is a time to go back to the ‘Why?’. I’m talking about the ‘why’ of the change. If leaders just communicate the ‘why’ they can garner trust. One senior leader here in Minnesota had to do this. He rolled out the why for change, he got authentic, and shared his hope for hiring everybody back and he basically has now. But even while he laid them off it was a MasterClass in doing it in a trusted way. Leading with empathy and all these things, but sharing the why of the change. You need to over-communciate the ‘why’ in the middle of change. 

When you go through times of uncertainty, how do you deal with that? Ask, what can I do, and then, what should I do first? And in the past year, so many people have been uncertain and need to be asking these questions. One thing a lot of leaders did during this time was getting their priorities down to just one. In times of conflict and change, bring it down to one thing. 

 What does your latest research on trust show?

The 2021 Trust Outlook has just been released.  One of the big findings is to lead with empathy, not just with kindness, but lead the conversation with empathy. To put our feet in other shoes. But, we also have been looking at how to build trust in the midst of remote work. The impact of virtual. Introverts are sharing more, and CEOs were communicating more than they ever had. But everything has a life cycle and people are craving face-to-face. We are in relational human community world, and even introverts are craving face-to-face! What have you found about how to connect?

No matter what, virtual does not replace in-person. I think a big thing now is ramifying virtual events for engagement. But, in general I don’t think there is one great answer. What about you?

In my experience, a lot people think polling is great. But I would throw that out the window- because it gives people the chance to have lag time. If there’s lag that takes away the engagement. I would say chat rooms and breakout rooms are great when they are short. Keeping things fast-paced and engaging. I also like to get people both kinestically and verbally engaged. 

Finally, our team created a website for Meeting Minds listeners it’s www.trustedleaderbook.com/meetingminds

MasterClass trainings are also available! 

Trust is earned everyday and if you do something better everyday leaders can change everything – sales, community, culture, etc. 



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