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Trust and Leadership

Many years ago, I read Stephen Covey’s book The Speed of Trust and attended a workshop that was designed around building trust in teams. Covey’s work has always resonated with me as a leader, as I believe that trust is the basis of every relationship, whether at work or in your personal life. Recently I’ve spent some time revisiting this when working with a client in my coaching practice.

‘Trust is the operating system of every relationship.’ – Stephen Covey

Why is trust so important for leaders?

Trust is one of the key ingredients in establishing your credibility as a leader. It is essential to building an effective team where people feel safe to communicate openly, to innovate, to share information and to be vulnerable. With high levels of trust, the team becomes stronger, more cohesive and ultimately, more productive.

How can you build a culture of trust?

There is a great deal written about how to build a culture of trust as a leader. Covey’s list of ‘13 Behaviours of a High Trust Leader’ is worth reading. 

In my experience as a leader, it is possible to build a strong culture of trust within teams and organisations. It takes time, focus and a genuine interest in the people who you are working with.

As a leader, the following are critical things to do to build a culture of trust:

  1. Act with integrity;
  2. Lead by example; 
  3. Listen and communicate openly and consistently;
  4. Demonstrate care and respect;
  5. Encourage and recognise good work; and
  6. Provide constructive feedback and encouragement.

‘Trust is built in very small moments’  – Brene Brown

‘Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair’  – Unknown