4 Trust-Building Behaviors for Leaders

What do collaborative teams and influential leaders have in common? Trust. If you’ve ever worked for a less-than-inspiring leader, you already understand the importance of cultivating credibility and conviction. Trustworthy leaders won’t demand trust simply because they’re in a position of authority. The “because I said so” mentality just doesn’t cut it in today’s corporate climate. The most powerful leaders demonstrate behaviors that engender a team-wide culture of mutual respect and esteem. Adopting these four behaviors can help you build, model, and maintain trust at every level.


1. Be transparent

Trustworthy leaders present clear, verifiable facts. They do not hide or hoard information. Embrace reality, tell the truth, and ensure that your people have access to the information they need to do their jobs well. In practice, this might look like openly communicating about your company’s successes as well as the challenges, setbacks, and (gasp!) even failures. 


2. Uplift others

You’re only as good as your team, so let them know it. Give credit where it’s due, act as a mentor, and treat everyone with respect. Demonstrating genuine care for others inspires growth and builds loyalty. In practice, this might look like public recognition of a job well done or providing relevant, exciting professional development opportunities.


3. Listen with curiosity

The experience of learning is often more valuable than the experience of knowing. Curiosity supports a growth mindset that allows you to ask before you act. Leaders who aren’t afraid to be open are inherently more dynamic, effective, and trustworthy. In practice, this might look like seeking input from your team before making a decision that will affect them directly. 


4. Practice accountability

Accountability, integrity, and trust are inextricably linked. As a trustworthy leader, you must take responsibility for your actions. Keep your promises, own your mistakes, and admit when you’re wrong. Encourage your team members to do the same. In practice, this might look like offering a sincere apology for a missed deadline and providing concrete solutions to get the project back on track.


When your team trusts you as a leader, it increases their commitment and encourages them to put forth their best efforts. Remember that extending trust to others can be just as impactful as building it for yourself. Trust fosters free expression, the safety to take risks, and, above all, innovation. It may take time to build your trustworthy reputation, but your leadership journey will be all the better for it.


Powerful question: Which trustworthy leadership behaviors are you already modeling? Which ones are you interested in improving?


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