THE FIRST TWO LAWS of trust focus on personal integrity and respect for others as foundational to building a high-trust organization. But unless leaders empower team members as well, integrity and respect remain inert.

My own appreciation of empowerment took root before I was old enough to drive. I asked my dad to let me practice maneuvering the family car up and down our 100-foot-long driveway. I carefully backed our 1950 Oldsmobile out of the garage until I hit the curb, applied the brake, paused, and then accelerated again. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to shift out of reverse. Up and over the curb I went, hanging the car up on the berm at the back of the driveway. Try though I might to get the car back on the driveway ...

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