Servant Leadership and Extending Smart Trust
Appeciative Enquiry

Extending Smart Trust

“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough.”

~Frank Crane, Author and Columnist

The last three concepts in Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything, are Extending Smart Trust, Restoring Trust When it has Been Lost, and A Propensity to Trust. Today, we look at Extending Smart Trust.

Servant Leaders know that when dealing with trust, the perception is that there are two extremes. On the one hand, when you don’t trust, three things are happening;

  1. You don’t trust people enough.
  2. You are suspicious of people.
  3. You hold things close to your heart.
  4. You only trust yourself.

On the other hand, when you trust too much, three things are happening:

  1. You are too trusting.
  2. You are too gullible.
  3. You believe anyone and trust everyone.
  4. You have a simplistic, naïve view of the world
  5. You don’t even really think (except superficially) about protecting your interests.

So how do Servant Leaders hit the “sweet spot” in the middle whereby you can extend smart trust to maximize success and minimize risks?

Life is full of risks. The key is not to avoid risk; rather it is manage risk effectively. That being said, there are two factors to consider when extending smart trust; the propensity to trust and analysis.

The Propensity to Trust

This factor is a matter of the heart. It is the where with all to believe that people are worthy of trust and that you can extend trust freely. Of course this predisposition to trust is directly proportionate to your personality, to the way people in your life have trusted you (or not), and to your own experiences- good and bad- in extending trust to others.


This factor is a matter of the mind. It is your ability to analyze, evaluate, and consider the implications and possibilities, and to arrive at sound decisions and positive solutions. This predisposition considers your natural gifts and abilities, your education and your worldview (the way you think), your style, and your life experiences.

In the end, Servant Leaders understand the propensity to trust and analysis gives one the ability to grow, expand, extend, and restore trust. Indeed, this is a key professional and personal competency of Servant Leaders. And extending smart trust is a critical part of this competency.

It enables Servant Leaders the ability to create a powerful balance and synergy between the two factors the propensity to trust and analysis, which then enables Servant Leaders to effectively leverage self and to inspire in others great talent, unlimited creativity, their highest contribution to the greater world community.

To Extending Smart Trust,

Dr. Crystal

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