The other day I picked up a copy of Trust Rules: How to Tell the Good Guys from the Bad Guys in Work and Life from the library. “Good guys” and “bad guys” seemed a bit stark in its philosophy, but admittedly, the title caught my eye. So I checked it out and read it. I’m really glad I didn’t let the title dissuade me, because it’s a very good read.

The overall premise of the book that you must cultivate a “trusted inner circle”—in both your work and personal life—so that you can make better choices and live a less stressful life. Dr. Stroh asserts that too much trust is just as damaging to one’s effectiveness as too little. She gives an example from her life growing up, saying that “I grew up in a family where trust was taken for granted.” Her early family life taught her that people were generally dependable and trustworthy. So, when she went out on her own she occasionally found herself trusting people when she shouldn’t have.

The book uses a nice combination of facts, real-life examples and personal observations to build a case for Dr. Stroh’s prescription for creating your optimal inner circle. She interviewed business leaders who provide trust-related nuggets of wisdom such as “everyone deserves the respect of truth” and “good guys live their values in good times and bad”; she then writes in depth about how each nugget demonstrates an element of trust-building.

As a former corporate trainer, I’m always drawn to books that have a “how to” element in them. This book delivers on that front as well with a self-analysis tool that Dr. Stroh calls the Trust Toolkit. She also outlines steps for a very important element of trust: how and when to forgive when trust has been broken.

If you find yourself consistently let down by people whom you trusted, or you simply are curious about the nature of trust between human beings, be sure to pick up a copy of this book. I’m buying my own copy for my personal library.

Disclosure: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you click the link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. This does not increase your purchase price and I only recommend resources I believe will have value for you.


How to Foster Creativity, Communication and Connection with Your Team

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Would an executive at your company set up shop in the middle of the IT help desk, hang a gutted fish over his desk and declare, “The doctor is in?” In effect, that’s what Paul Bennett, chief creative officer at IDEO, has done, and he claims it’s helped him foster creativity in a way he […]

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29 Ways Leaders Can Inspire and Motivate People

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What are the best ways to inspire and motivate people? That’s what’s up for discussion for the August Leadership Development Carnival. The carnival, typically hosted by Dan McCarthy of the blog Great Leadership, sometimes takes a road trip and this month it arrives at its temporary home, hosted by Shawn Murphy (@shawmu on Twitter) at […]

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Living Up to the Promise of a Leadership Title

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Are the leaders in your organization living up to their titles? Yes, yes, I know. The organizational title is a dinosaur. But the reality is that very few organizations have learned to operate without the hierarchy. So, for those companies that still rely on titles, most employees have expectations about how people in senior management […]

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Advice for How to Create a Top Notch Resume

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Resumes—what to emphasize, words to avoid and how to catch the eye of the person reading your work summary—was the focus of my July HR Answers articles. First up, it’s advice directly from those who review hundreds of resumes each day: Top Resume Writing Tips from HR Managers and Recruiters. I reached out to the […]

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Creating the Perfect Resume – Word Choice Matters

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Leadership Decision-Making – Both Science and Art

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Making effective decisions is a vital leadership competency. There are many decision-making models that can help create a structure for determining an outcome. But just because you have a systematic model doesn’t mean you’ll choose the best outcome. You need the “art” of decisions as well: the human brain’s unique capacity to imagine, predict and […]

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5 Real-Life Examples of Creating Positive Workplace Morale

July 21, 2014

Think you can’t have fun, throw money at employees (literally!) and grow the company’s revenues by 25% all at the same time? It’s possible and the examples below prove it. Meet Bob Richards, a seasoned manufacturing executive who has tried what skeptics would call “outlandish” tactics to create a workplace environment in which employees are […]

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15 Essays About Parenting and Leadership

July 18, 2014

Back before I had kids, I thought I was a really good leader. Maybe I was, but now that I’m 13 years into this parenting thing, there are definitely some additional realizations that have come into my field of vision. Karin Hurt, founder of the blog Let’s Grow Leaders, has also seen the parallels between parenting and great […]

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Retain Your Top Talent with These 4 Stay Interview Tips

July 14, 2014

As a leader, you know it the minute your most talented employee walks into your office — she is going to resign. You chastise yourself: why didn’t I see it coming? If you are honest with yourself, you know that in some way, you did see it coming. You just didn’t take the time to […]

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