Are You a Trusted Leader?

Trust is a core business value that is commonly underestimated and very often completely ignored.

be a trusted leader

Recent research by the Forum Corporation found that 2/3 of employees rate trust in their leaders moderate at best.

We know that greater trust leads to greater engagement, which in turn is directly linked to performance. Therefore when looking to improve an organization and its results, we need to develop the leader-team trust relationship.

The research describes poor leadership skills, dishonesty, inconsistency, poor communication and lack of personal skills as common reasons for the trust gap. While this is shocking, these issues can be fixed. Be aware though, this is not a quick fix. Establishing or rebuilding trust takes daily effort.

Our experience shows that trust between leaders and teams is built on four aspects.


Leaders need to build an engaging culture. This requires defining a mission, vision and values that will unite teams. Leaders need to model the values that they expect from their teams. They need to ‘walk their talk’. They must expect the same conduct from everyone, but especially those who work in a leadership capacity. Making exceptions and overlooking bad behavior will erode trust quickly. And once trust has been compromised, it will take much greater effort to restore it, than to build it in the first place.


Leaders must be able to transform the vision into a crisp strategy. This is necessary to formulate plans that teams can execute. If strategy or plans are ambiguous or otherwise unworkable, teams will not be able to focus their efforts wisely. This intern will cause confusion, frustration and breakdown in trust. Critical in this regard, is the ability to deal with and respond to change. Change is guaranteed in most situations. The ability to respond to it in a composed manner is vital to keep teams trusting in their leaders.


Leaders need to provide direction to their teams through authentic communications. They need to set clear expectations and treat everyone fairly. Any incongruence between their words and actions will harm the trust relationship with their teams. A major component of communication is listening. Therefore leaders need to be open to feedback and willing to deal with issues that are raised. Not listening to and acting on what concerns employees and teams, is guaranteed to erode trust.


Leaders must connect with their employees to understand what matters to them, what energizes them and what concerns them. Having a better bond with employees will go a long way toward increasing trust. If leaders rule from the corner office and from a place of ego, the trust of their team will remain elusive. And let’s remember that trust is reciprocal. If leaders place their trust in employees by empowering them to make decisions, inroads will be made on the way to greater engagement.

This quote seems to sum up the trust relationship perfectly. I wish I could attribute it properly. If you can help, please comment.

What you see in others is a reflection of yourself.

What do you see in your team and yourself?


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