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Trust in the Workplace: A Tesla Case Study

11 July, 2017

What is the impact of trust in the workplace?

At Rekon Group we believe that:


High Performance is driven by Culture, Strategy and Execution


Where the workplace culture is driven by the leaders of the organisation.  Providing the foundation of this workplace culture is the Rekon Group Trust model, which defines the two kinds of trust that the best leaders will exhibit: Personal and Professional. Personal Trust is the potent combination of integrity, empathy and a genuine care for others. Professional trust is knowing the leader has the knowledge, skill and competence to be able to deliver results.

Rekon Group Trust Model

Rekon Group Trust Model: Personal and Professional Trust

The Rekon Group Trust model provides both the founding principles for the Rekon Group ethos and the basis for our leadership and professional development courses. It defines how in order to successfully lead you must have the capacity for both high levels of personal and professional trust.


In June 2017 Frederic Lambert from Eletrek reported that Elon Musk had emailed his staff at his Tesla plant in Fremont, to encourage them to report injuries directly to him in order to find the cause and solve the underlying issues. The email was quoted as saying:

“No words can express how much I care about your safety and wellbeing. It breaks my heart when someone is injured building cars and trying their best to make Tesla successful.

Going forward, I’ve asked that every injury be reported directly to me, without exception. I’m meeting with the safety team every week and would like to meet every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do to make it better. I will then go down to the production line and perform the same task that they perform.

This is what all managers at Tesla should do as a matter of course. At Tesla, we lead from the front line, not from some safe and comfortable ivory tower. Managers must always put their team’s safety above their own.”


This email is a fantastic example of an inspirational leader having his employees’ best interests at heart and displaying great levels of Personal Trust. Musk exhibited care and compassion for his employees wellbeing and inspiring a level of personal trust in the workplace that is not often evident in big business.


He shows how he has taken the time to listen to his employees and has taken their opinions seriously, encouraging them to contact him directly with any injury such that he can uncover the underlying safety issues and address the problems. This personal trust is reinforced by the provision of feedback to his employees within his email and by his direction to his leadership team to also commit to leading by example and putting their people first.


Musk states that he will lead by example and practice what he preaches by going onto the production line to physically view the safety issues of his employees in practice. Taking this real action and backing up his words with his physical presence on the line is a poignant example of inspirational leadership in action. Musk embodies the building of personal trust between a leader and their colleagues and employees.




If you would like to find out more about personal and professional trust, the Rekon Group Trust model and to find out how it can help your leadership development, click here.


If you would like to read more about Rekon Group’s Professional Development and Leadership training courses click here.


Follow the link to the full article published in Elektrek June 2 2017.