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Did you know that “trust is the highest form of human motivation? It brings out the very best in people. But it takes time and patience.” Stephen Covey

For returning guests, welcome back, and for those who are new here, I’m Andrea Samadi, author, and educator, with a passion for learning, understanding difficult concepts, and breaking them down so that we can all use and apply the most current research to improve productivity and results in our schools, and modern workplaces. Today’s EPISODE #206, is on a topic inspired by one of my early influencers, “The Neuroscience of Trust.” This episode came to me as I’m preparing for our next episode next week, with someone I have quoted often on this podcast, Greg Link[i], the co-founder of the Covey Leadership Center. Greg was the one who orchestrated the strategy that led Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, (1989)[ii] to become one of the two best-selling business books of the 20th century according to CEO Magazine, selling over 20 million copies in 38 languages. Greg created the marketing momentum that helped propel Covey Leadership Center from a start-up company to a $110-plus million-dollar enterprise with offices in 40 countries.

You’ll need to tune into our next episode #207 to learn more from Greg Link’s incredible experience working with Dr. Covey, and with individuals and companies around the world, where Greg will share what qualities are important and integral for success for our students in today’s classrooms, and in our modern workplaces as we dive into our topic of “Unleashing Greatness with Neuroscience, SEL, Trust, and the 7 Habits.”

While researching Greg, who I met when he came to work in the seminar industry in 2002, I was reminded of a topic that he thought was so important that he wrote a book about it with Stephen M.R. Covey (the son of the late Stephen R. Covey) called Smart Trust: The Defining Skill That Transforms Managers into Leaders.[iii]

If you look up quotes from Stephen Covey on trust, you can see how important this skill was to him. He said, “trust is the glue to life” and “the one thing that affects everything else you’re doing. It’s a performance multiplier which takes your trajectory upwards, for every action you engage in, from strategy to execution.”

The quote I like the most is where he says that “the first job of a leader—at work or at home—is to inspire trust. It’s to bring out the best in people by entrusting them” and what I learned from Greg and his book Smart Trust, is that “we have to extend trust to others, to get it back.” This seems counterintuitive, or not what we’d expect to hear, especially in a low-trust world, where many of us don’t want to be too naïve, and too trusting on one side of trust, or we don’t want to be too suspicious either, on the other side of trust. So how do we use Smart Trust, and find the right balance with this skill that transforms managers into leaders?  If you read the book, you will see where Greg had a huge AHA moment with his relationship with trust, when someone extended trust to him. Leaders go first, they extend their trust to others, by walking their talk, by showing their character and competence (by doing what they say they will do) and watch how people respond around them (not with blind trust, but with Smart Trust) and you will be surprised that when you give trust, most often, you’ll get it back.

Greg does mention cases where trust is not possible to be restored, like for those who invested their money with Bernie Madoff[iv] who was known for defrauding thousands of investors out of tens of billions of dollars over a time span of around 17 years, it would  be difficult for trust to be restored in this case, but he affirms that “it’s possible to restore and regain trust”[v] and possibly even on a deeper level with time and transparency.

Which brought me to wonder, where does trust exist in our brain?

DID YOU KNOW THAT “high levels of trust are associated with decreased amygdala activity and low fear. When there’s a breach of trust the brain’s conflict detector the ACC (anterior cingulate cortex) activates the amygdala. Trust and fear are inversely related; fear activates the amygdala and trust decreases activation. Trust therefore frees up the brain for other activities like creativity, planning and decision-making”[vi] which to me shows on a brain level why “the act of extending trust is an act of leadership.” (Stephen M.R. Covey).

To conclude this episode and set us all on the right frame of mind for our next episode with Greg Link, (next week) I highly encourage you to read Greg’s book, Smart Trust, and pre-order Stephen MR Covey’s NEW book, coming out next month, Trust and Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Inspire Greatness in Others[vii] so that we can all deepen our knowledge of this skill that is a prerequisite for success in life, and business, especially for those in a position of leadership.

To Build Smart Trust, and open your brain up to higher levels of creativity, planning and decision-making, Here are Some Tips From Greg Link:

    1. Believe in Trust: and remember that extending trust is the key to leadership.


    1. Start With YOU: look at the two sides of trust. Integrity-do I walk my talk? Competence—do I do what I will say I will do?


    1. Declare Your Intent: Be transparent and say what you want to accomplish so others are clear of your expectations.


    1. Assume Positive Intent in Others: Always give others the benefit of the doubt.


    Extend Trust: to others and you will gain more influence. No need to micromanage others, just use SMART Trust.

With those tips, I’ll bring this episode to close. Have a good weekend and I’ll see you next week on EPISODE #207, where Greg Link will share what only someone who worked directly with Dr. Stephen Covey and the blockbuster 7 Habits book would know. It’s going to be memorable.


[i] Greg Link Speaker’s Bio


[iii] Smart Trust: The Defining Skill That Transforms Managers into Leaders by Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link Published September 3, 2013


[v] Interview with Greg Link on Smart Trust November 27, 2014

[vi] The Neuroscience of Trust,amygdala%20and%20trust%20decreases%20activation.

[vii]Trust and Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Inspire Greatness in Others by Stephen MR Covey April 5, 2022