How to Recognize a Trustworthy Leader

At its best, leadership inspires people to pull together collectively to achieve something great. That kind of inspiration requires a trustworthy leader—one who treats leadership not as a source of personal power but as a channel for serving others. How do you know when a leader is trustworthy? Here are some signs to look for:

They stand on principle even when they have to stand alone. It takes great character to stand up for what you believe in, especially when everyone else is standing against you. A trustworthy leader will always act in the interest of the greater good, even if that means going against the prevailing trend.

They help others become better and improve their lives. A trustworthy leader will always invest in relationships with others. They’re unfailingly supportive and willing to go the extra mile to help those around them grow and improve. At the heart of a trusted leader is a core of service and support.

They listen with an open heart and mind. Listening may not appear anywhere in a leader’s job description, but it is a critical responsibility. A leader who listens is in a much better position to lead their organization to greater levels of success. Listening, asking questions and listening to what people have to say all signal a leader who cares—and one who can be trusted.

They don’t sweep difficult issues under the rug. Many people think of leadership as the business of steering clear of adversity and challenging situations. But trustworthy leaders have a different perspective. They know that difficult situations will arise, and they see their work not as sidestepping them or sweeping them under the rug, but facing it with their people and going through it together.

They stay steady under pressure. The pressure on leaders is both real and constant, and at times it can become extreme. Trustworthy leaders are those who can stay calm and steady in every situation, however tense or hurried. Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm; it’s during the storms that true character is revealed.

They take responsibility, and you can count on them. One of the highest marks for a trusted leader is a reputation as someone people know they can count on. That means maintaining the willingness to take charge when everything is falling apart and to take the blame when things go wrong. The trait of accountability is a key element of trustworthiness.

They say what they mean and mean what they say. We’ve all been around people who say one thing but do another, or who try to deny their own words or actions—and it’s infuriating. A leader who says what they mean and means what they say can always be trusted.

Lead from within: A trustworthy leader isn’t easy to find—but when you do, they’re unforgettable.



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The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness


After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Eileen McDargh

    18. Nov, 2019

    I love this and it is so true. So–here is my biggest question: how do we get these lessons to be heard by some of our national “leaders” who are exhibiting the exact opposite of what you have written. The people who NEED your wisdom are not getting it.
    This is probably a rhetorical question but one I still must ask.

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