Can Obedience nurture Trust?

Someone told me that blind obedience nurtures trust (my post Disciplines of execution). Let me elaborate this a little more.

I was told once that obedience is the basic issue to foster trust in organizational structure!

power and controlI was kind of surprised by such unilateral thinking and explanation of the working environment and could not figure out where from this way of thinking comes. In all my years of working experience I never thought that obedience can or may nurture trust. Just the opposite: I believe that obedience is a one way communication. And trust is definitively a two way issue.

Let me review what I have already written about to clear my position on the subject.

In the post Loyalty at work I stressed that in strictly traditionally hierarchical organizations (companies or even countries) there is only one way of implementing the will or preferences of the leader or owner - it is called a command!

Well I can argue that even in such hierarchical organizations at different incidents employees should always be (are) treated with respect. It is the obligation of the organization to see that individual leaders or managers do not abuse their power or mistreat their subordinates.
squeezing last drops of effort
In another post Leadership and trust I expressed that trust is vital and is one of the fundamentals of any kind of cooperation between two living beings! I can definitely claim that it is very difficult to expect the trust in leaders that are practically squeezing last drops of effort out of employees with a command.

If we look even on broader scope – our environment – my post To trust the Capital? goes even beyond trust of any living being: can we trust the systems we are implementing and having as the only solution today?

Now we return to the first dilemma I had when confronted with statement that a manager will not have trust in his employees if they do not obey him fully. Looking out for connection of two issues (trust and obedience) I found a very interesting background for it. It is a religion! More precisely - Christianity – well, most of religions after Greek’s humanlike gods – preaches that one has to obey and trust to supreme power of god. Quite a shock - my firm position is that bringing religious ‘products’ into business and inter human relations (on global scale) opens a very dangerous and unproductive path.

Obedience and Trust
We have so (too) many gods and religions on this planet that applying only one’s ideas in different (business) cultures may only provoke resistance, never trust or even expect obedient execution. I contend to leave religion to each person intimacy, preferably not mixing it with sports, business, management, leadership, …

Do you have an opinion on the above?


  1. Well! Anybody can trust on somebody who obey and satisfy their requests. Trust can be developed on anybody. A good article to be read.

    1. Thank you for your opinion. You think trust and obedience go hand in hand?