4 Ways to Assess Trust

How do they do that? Bryk and Schneider have four vital signs for identifying and assessing trust in schools that will prove instructive. While not an exhaustive list of behaviors, do you demonstrate through your words and actions that you are both trusting and trustworthy? See if you live these concepts out loud:

1. Respect: Do I acknowledge others’ dignity and ideas or do I sigh when they speak? Am I distracted and playing with my phone or do I listen with full attention? Do I interact in a courteous way? Say hello in the front office? Respond to emails in a timely manner?

2. Competence: Do I believe in a colleague’s ability and willingness to fulfill responsibilities effectively? More to the point: How do I show it? Do I delegate and show that I’m confident when I do? Do I ask for their insights? Do I use positive presuppositions in my communications? Do I not roll my eyes when someone mentions a colleague’s name or when I am asked if I think he/she would be good at a team lead position?

3. Personal regard: Do I care about others on my team personally and professionally? Do I ask how they are when they come back from being absent? Do I listen when they share about their weekend? Do I go the extra mile for someone when I know things are rough outside of school or even with a class that challenges them? Am I willing to go beyond my formal role and “take one for the team,” without complaint? Happily do an extra duty, buy that coffee, sign the birthday card?

4 vital signs for identifying and assessing #trust in #schools that will prove instructive

4. Integrity: Can others trust me to put the interests of students first and do I demonstrate that I trust them to do the same? If there needs to be something done for the sake of student schedules or needs, even though it isn’t convenient, do I step up? If something needs to be written that will support student growth or a meeting to attend to, do I do so as it is best for students?

In schools, trust is a verb. You can’t stick it in your back pocket. It’s given actively and hard-earned over time. It is through our actions and our words that we create the environments in which we all can do our best work. And it is through our individual actions and words that we build this trust over and over, day by day. This isn’t a feel-good idea. It is a critical and essential component to the work.

About the Author:

Jennifer Abrams is an international education and communications consultant. She considers herself a “voice coach,” helping others learn how to best use their voices–be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague and supervising an employee. Jennifer’s publications include Having Hard ConversationsThe Multigenerational Workplace: Communicating, Collaborating & Creating Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, the Whens and the What Ifs. She has also created a Corwin Press e-course by the same name. Jennifer writes a monthly newsletter/blog, Voice Lessons, available for reading at and subscribing to on her website, www.jenniferabrams.com. Follow Jennifer on Twitter