Post Creator: Rosie Bartley

The Data on Distrust: Building and Maintaining Trust as a Leader with Joe Folkman, Zenger Folkman

By ICR | Podcast

Trust in managers and leaders is key to running an effective business. But how can we use data to evaluate and cultivate trust in our work environment?

Our guest this week is co-founder and president of Zenger Folkman, a leadership development consultancy, Joe Folkman. For more than 30 years, Joe has been assessing and studying top leaders in a variety of industries and is a world-renowned psychometrician and leadership development expert. If you’re not familiar with his unusual job title, a psychometrician creates psychological tests to measure employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Joe is also a prolific writer and has contributed to the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Business Insider. His research has also been featured in Business Week, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Finally, Joe is the best-selling author and co-author of nine books on leadership and feedback, including his latest work; The Trifecta of Trust: The Proven Formula for Building and Restoring Trust.

Joe and Tom discuss about the foundational theory of this latest book, how the implementation of diversity and inclusion policies have a positive effect on trust, and why you actually can please everyone…and have to.


  • Joe talks about his use of data in making his assessments (3:20)
  • Joe lays out the three pillars of The Trifecta of Trust (5:50)
  • Joe discusses some top-level statistics of trust and links them to the corporate world (07:09)
  • Joe outlines why consistency is important when building trust (10:39)
  • Do you need to please everyone to be trusted? (12:06)
  • How did the pandemic change which leaders were trusted? (14:25)
  • Joe reveals that managers often have a preference for negative feedback (17:26)
  • How do we regain lost trust and how do managers navigate what they don’t know? (21:42)
  • Joe talks about how practicing diversity and inclusion policies improves trust (25:01)
  • How is fostering good communication is key to developing trust? (25:08)
  • Joe talks about intergenerational variations of trust (29:01)


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If you have questions about the show or have a topic in mind you’d like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,