Why Trust Is So Important As A Leader

Trust is the unquestioned belief that the other person has your best interests at heart. So why does it take so much effort to get employees and other stakeholders to accept that that their leadership actually has their best interests in mind and that they should believe what their leaders have to say?

Leaders of well-respected, high-performing organisations are the ones noted for their “open-book communications.” They are the ones who are able to create a culture of trust by sharing information quickly and freely. They develop trust as a leader by continually build on relationships with employees and other stakeholders to enable their organizations to be successful.

developing trust in leaders

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In my view leaders who are trusted are those who can communicate not only openly but often, and are able to initiate formal and informal programs and assess their own performance. They will have a crystal, committed communications policy,

Many leaders do a great deal of talking about trust but in fact spend little or no time ‘building’ trust.

At the heart of building trust is the process of communications, this is the fundamental key. Leaders are communicators if they believe that an important responsibility is to communicate.

The reason we find it difficult to trust most leaders, is that leaders need to ‘earn’ their trust in the first place.

Why Many People Still Don’t Trust Their Leaders

My team and I enjoy this ‘Ted’ video on the subject of how important it is to Trust a leader. You can see why in fact many people still do not trust their leaders. Conductor Charles Hazlewood talks about the role of trust in musical leadership — then shows how it works, and it is easy see why many people still do not trust their leaders.

“If only the leaders of our world were required to sing and play music before meetings. Just think of the possibilities!”

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 2

  • My first reaction on reading this article was, “I can get published like this simply by restating the obvious?” On second reading I did get the definite impression that some organizations do more than pay lip service to the idea of trust and open communication. The pivotal and virtually always over looked point is that you have to EARN my trust. I am not sure it can work any other way, at least in a positive manner. Leaders, or rather managers that aspire, have addressed this issue on rare occasions by saying, in effect, “…you better trust me and get on board…” meaning I am not at the wheel and unless a period under the bus wheels is attractive, then get in, step up and smile. Many of my colleagues refuse to talk about the issue (myself included) for fear of punitive action and the cycle repeats much like the unintended proliferation of toxic leaders. The really sad and ironic aspect of this is that earning my trust does not require heroic sacrifice and I, like all but a few, will respond with cheerful, enthusiastic and engaged full throttle. How do you break this cycle or does one?

  • Richard Hi,

    To break the cycle it seems to me we have one of three choices:

    1. Speak up and provide feedback in a diplomatic and assertive way
    2. Move on to another part of the organisation, or leave the organisation altogether.
    3. Be still and so nothing.

    The choice is always ours to make, and as a manager/leader one of our qualities has to be to continually challenge the process.

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