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Part 2 - Elements of trust

Diagnosing trust in your team.

In part 1, we provided you with an understanding why trust is essential and provides fertile ground for sustainable results and joyful collaboration, and we also defined trust in teams. In part 2, we dig deeper into the elements of trust, and we present the Jane barometer of Trust © as a diagnostic instrument. 

The Elements of Trust

Researching trust within The Jane Company, we distinguished 6 elements that play a role in team members’ subjective assessment of trust. 

Based on these elements, we developed the Jane barometer of Trust ©. To diagnose the level of trust, we ask every team member to assess all 6 elements, and thus we see in a glance, what is available and lacking in the team. Generally spoken, certain elements are well-developed, while scores on others lag, leading to loss of energy and effectiveness. After all, without trust we spend our time figuring out what we should do…

The assessment of the level of trust is subconscious, and the weighing of the elements will be different for every individual. Personal values and motivations play a key role in this assessment, as do differences between cultures and countries. Anywhere you go, trust is a crucial ingredient for well-functioning groups of people. However, some people will consider reliability essential and lose trust in someone just for being late. To others, being late is inconsequential, while competency, someone’s ability to do the job, is judged to be far more important for trust. 

Elements of trust can also be validated by looking at mistrust. When people do not trust someone, they will often be able to indicate quite accurately what is causing that feeling of mistrust.  How trust is built and is broken differs. Gaining (back) trust always requires mutual understanding of underlying motivations of behavior. The elements shown below in the barometer can help pinpoint what needs to be investigated.

When scores are high, there is mutual trust on the team, the team members are all on the same page, authentic, working to their full potential and utilizing all their expertise without holding back. Team members will feel this, because everything falls into place: they can do the job, serve the team, are open and transparent, reliable, take direction, and create a positive appreciatory environment. They are individually authentic and together in the flow. This spirit in the leadership team has a positive ripple effect on the whole organization, all will benefit.

The Jane barometer of Trust ©

See below a visual of the barometer of trust and a description of the 6 elements we ask the team to assess.

  • Competency: team members can perform their tasks. They need to have the expertise and skills to do their job. If a team member lacks competency, or fails to use it, it is hard to trust him or her. Having the right competent people in the right place is essential.
  • Reliability: team members are sticking to agreements and coming through on their promises. Do we do what we say? On time and up to the appropriate quality standards? How do we communicate with each other? When people in an organization fail to communicate clearly and effectively or do not honor agreements, trust will wane. 
  • Openness: team members feel safe to be vulnerable and share things out in the open. Trust requires an understanding of what moves a person and what he really think. No secrets under the table or untold emotions. Trust is conditional on words, body language, and emotions being aligned.


  • Direction: team members have a clear sense of direction, coming from the shared purpose. Clarity on strategy and goals invokes trust, binds a team and gives them a solid footing. 
  • Appreciation: Attention spurs growth. Showing appreciation influences the mood across the organization, giving people confidence they need to perform and express their ideas. Setting a positive mood is of crucial importance to lasting successful operations and innovation. 
  • Team interest: to achieve team trust, team members must prioritize the team’s interests above their own. Personal agendas undermine trust and stand in the way of achieving the best possible team result