From Control To Trust – The ‘Why’ And The ‘How’

Trust Is More Powerful Than Control

Control and trust are two words that are frequently used when we speak about successful individuals, organizations, and nations. With control, we build and tax our resources to meet demands and to deliver planned results. With trust, we hold space for others to contribute, challenge and share. When external demands are low, both control and trust offer structure to achieve goals.

As the external demands increase, we feel an increased pressure to influence our environment and thus, exert control. We get triggered to control and this response triggers reactions in others. As individuals and as a group, the result is to close, exclude and contain. Take notice. Simply thinking about control can trigger our adrenalin to kick in and our body to elicit a stress response.

Control involves restraining or directing influence over others. Trust involves having confidence in the character, ability or strength of another. Notice the significance of the distinction.  Closed vs. open. Restrained vs. confident. Forced vs powerful.

Now think about trust. ‘I trust that my team will deliver.’ ‘I trust that my employer will recognize my contribution.’  ‘I trust that my competitors will play by the rules.’ Notice the response is more relaxed, expansive and inclusive. With a sense of trust, we accept of the opinions of others, we expand our perspectives and we embrace challenges to meet increasing external demands.

Control involves restraining or directing influence over others. Trust involves having confidence in the character, ability or strength of another. Notice the significance of the distinction.  Closed vs. open. Restrained vs. confident. Forced vs powerful.

Trust Is Required For Growth And Innovation

Leaders in organizations feel pressure to deliver results in a rapidly changing environment. The automatic response is to exert control and adjust conditions to make them familiar or comfortable. However, the system requires relaxation and trust to embrace the new environment and accept change. Without trust, there is no room for the expansion necessary for growth and innovation.

Imagine yourself as an employee who has discovered an innovative idea. If there is trust, you ‘feel’ that the idea can be presented, debated and developed. In an environment of control, you may evaluate whether you feel safe to bring the idea forward at all. If you do, reactive behaviours at each step of the process have the ability to shut things down. Introducing ‘new’ to a controlling leader or system faces significant challenges as you brace yourself to present your perspective.

To effectively deliver growth and innovation, we require an environment where individuals feel a sense of trust. Above all, the role of leadership is to hold space for all employees to feel safety to grow and boundaries to protect.

Trust Is Compromised In Volatile Situations

Findings of the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer indicate that the general population has experienced the largest drop in trust in survey history. Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman, indicates that ‘the root cause of this fall is the lack of objective facts and rational discourse.’ This reflects that efforts to tightly control a rapidly changing environment have resulted in subjective and irrational reactions that erode trust.

Building Trust Cognitively

Our emotional reactions create barriers to trust. If we want to build trust, it stands to reason that we will develop skills to control these reactions. By taking deep breaths, avoiding charged situations and building our physical resources we are better prepared to cope with the reaction when it strikes.

Our controlling reactions inevitability results in behaviour that damages trust. In these situations, we look to develop strategies to repair the damage. Apologies can be presented in many forms but often are difficult to both deliver and receive. Even if we know what we need to say, our feelings in these situations can be very powerful. In many cases, individuals are not able to maintain and rebuild trust with our current tools in volatile environments.

Processing Reactions To Create Trust

Trust is about confidence. Confidence is associated with the feeling, faith, and belief that people will act according to a set of values. Feelings, faith and belief rest in the level of energy rather than that of cognition. Therefore, if we truly want to nurture trust we need to identify effective and efficient ways to approach and resolve the barriers at an energetic or spiritual level.

We recognize that words erode trust and so also, words can restore trust. Dr. Willem Lammers developed Logosynthesis® as a profound guided-change method recognizing the ancient power of words to shift energy. By connecting with the thoughts, emotions, and sensations associated with our reactions, we are able to identify, isolate and neutralize the sensory perceptions that trigger these reactions. As we learn to neutralize these perceptions, we are no longer triggered by situations that normally induce the response. Therefore, we do not need to work at controlling the space between the reaction and the response.  The reaction dissolves.

This work recognizes that highly charged reactions inevitably occur as a result of an individual’s unique experiences. The energy is stuck in limiting beliefs, painful memories and notions of how things should be. The sensory perceptions often lie below the level of cognitive awareness. The work of Logosynthesis® allows us to neutralize these perceptions to:

  • Break habitual patterns of reaction.
  • Release feelings that prevent us from restoring trust.
  • Accept differences in thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs.

Creating An Environment For Trust

Trust involves relationships. We have a responsibility to process our reactions to create a feeling of trust within ourselves. Each individual in a group, in a partnership or on a team has the opportunity to process reactions. The work requires psychological safety and can be guided through self-coaching, coaching, counseling or therapy to support individuals to build levels of personal resources. As the work becomes more familiar and individuals embrace the process, the group begins to hold space for the individual to resolve issues.

In situations where an individual exhibits significant controlling behaviours that damage trust, it can be very challenging to offer support. Our normal reaction is to focus on fixing their behaviour for the health and productivity of others. If we approach others in a controlling manner, it readily activates their triggers. The exchange can quickly escalate into a highly energized interaction. Recognizing the need for individuals to feel safety to grow and boundaries to protect, a sense of compassion can support challenging situations. To create an environment for trust, our individual work is to continue to focus on neutralizing our triggers to controlling, reactive behaviour so we can better hold space for others – offering safety without judgment.

People feel safe to embrace challenges when they sense trust. People react when they sense tightening and control. When demands escalate, recognize that our natural tendency is to react, to pull in and to control. Leveraging the power of words using the Logosynthesis® method, we can take individual and collective action to create an environment for trust.


Cathy Caswell
Cathy Caswell
CATHY guides people to reduce stress, unlock their potential and enjoy life more fully using Logosynthesis. As a dietitian with an MBA, she enjoyed a corporate career in the food industry in production, marketing, and sales. She knows firsthand the benefits of being able to get unstuck from reactive patterns that negatively impact work, health, wealth, and relationships. As a Coach and President of The Healthy Living Plan Inc. and a Master Practitioner and Instructor in Logosynthesis®, she is committed to supporting leaders at all levels. Through online 1-1 coaching and now app-based remote coaching using the Essence Unlock Potential app, Cathy supports people to routinely use this healthy lifestyle practice to achieve their goals. Cathy is the author of Logosynthesis®: Enjoying Life More Fully and Thriving In Our Times: From Reactions To Action Using Logosynthesis®. 

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