The Importance of Trust

Panellists: Dr Paul Browning
Margaret Barr

In this ‘Curious Conversation’, Paul and Margaret will first share their background and experiences, and then discuss the importance of trust, how it is built, and what it looks like.

Dr Paul Browning is one of Australia’s truly distinguished educational leaders, best known for his work “Compelling Leadership”, leadership that is built on trust. He has been the ‘CEO’ of two large independent schools for over two decades, the current being one of the most innovative schools in the world. He is a sought after speaker at conferences, both for his expertise in leadership and organisational trust, and for his passion for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurialism.
Twitter handle @PaulDBrowning

Margaret Barr is Lead Associate (Scotland) for Growth Coaching International, working with educators as a coach, consultant, and facilitator of coaching training programmes. Please see Margaret is especially interested in the use of attentive conversations to support the wellbeing of educators and learners.
Twitter handle @MargaretBarr1

Dr Paul Browning suggested resources:

  • Trust in Schools: A Bryk and B Schneider These two academics, engaged by the Chicago Government in the early 1990s to study an educational reform act, stumbled across an unexpected finding. Schools with high levels of relational trust were more likely to see greater improvement in student outcomes. Trust improves student learning.
  • The Moral Molecule: P. Zak Zak is a neuroscientist and economist. He discovered the biochemistry of trust. Fascinating look at how the brain’s chemistry influences our willingness to trust (or not).
  • The Trust Factor: P. Zak Zak applies the neuroscience of trust to the corporate world. He shares the positive impacts that trust has on organisational performance and productivity.
  • Talking to Strangers: M Gladwell Really fascinating book. Our natural disposition, or default position is trust but we are actually terrible at picking liars. This book helped me get an insight into why paedophiles are masters of disguise. Gladwell relays several powerful examples of how spies, murderers and criminals have gone undetected for years, even in organisations like the CIA and the Pentagon.
  • Duped: T Levine This is a heavy book: the academic theory behind lying and deception. A powerful insight into the human condition and why we lie (and therefore, can be untrustworthy).
  • People of the Lie: M. S. Peck I loved Peck’s first book, “The Road Less Travelled”. A well-regarded psychiatrist, Peck shares his learnings about pain, suffering, people and the purpose in life. This book gives a deeper insight into the human condition. Are we inherently good or evil (trustworthy or not)?
  • The Good Life: H Mackay In this book Mackay addresses the question, “What is a life worth living?” Apart for all the other interesting insights into a worthy life, I learned a lot about the art and power of listening and empathy from Mackay. Listening is a key to building trust.
  • Humilitas: J Dickson Dickson is a theologian. In this book he traces the origins and true meaning of humility. The heart of trustworthiness is good character. The foundation of character (and real learning) is humility.

Margaret Barr suggested resources:

  • 'The Trusted Advisor', by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green and Robert M. Galford. (2000)
  • 'Time to Think', by Nancy Kline (1999)