Great Leaders Don’t Say Just Trust Me


Imagine telling someone: “I’m going to be taking you on a long, dangerous, and difficult trip. There will be times you are likely to be very uncomfortable, and there may be terrible storms. I’m not going to tell you where we are going, why we are going, where we are going, or how we will get there. Just TRUST ME.

How do you think that would make anyone feel?

In organizations, when a leader is implementing organizational change – when a boss is making major decisions that will affect employees – it doesn’t work to say “just trust me.”

Like frightened children, people will come up with all kinds of reasons to resist and refuse why they do not want to come along on the trip – even if it’s a good one!

Most of us, do not want to take trips into the unknown and without a destination.

Telling people “just trust me” is naiveté at its worst.

It shows an enormous amount of disrespect, sometimes even dishonesty. And, maybe even delusional!

In business today, trust has to be earned. In leadership today, trust has to be gained.

Trust is  being congruent: Match your words with your actions what you say you will do you do.  Being trusted is being dependable.

Trust is embracing transparency. When it comes to trust, the more you reveal the more you can see. When trust is transparent it can be embraced.

Trust is honoring promises. Keep what you promised – and if you can go the extra mile and  honor and deliver more than you promised.

Trust is a two-way street. To make someone trustworthy, you need to trust them first. The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.

Trust is risk.Trust lies  between faith and probability. To risk is to put yourself out of your comfort zone.Take the risk and have the faith in trust to pull you through.

Trust is a relationship. Trust begins with the self in relationship with another.  Trust others as you would wish to be trusted.

Trust is the glue when it comes to organizational change. it is a foundational element that holds us together.

  Trust your people so they can engage and be part of the change.

  Trust your people so they can enroll and add value to the change.

  Trust your people so they can embrace and understand and respect the change.

Lead from within: Any leader who says “just trust me” and expects loyalty is going to get a group of employees who resent the journey instead of enjoying the adventure. Trust  grasps another human being in their innermost core of loyalty.



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
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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Photo Credit: Getty Images

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.

45 Responses to “Great Leaders Don’t Say Just Trust Me”

  1. Lou Bortone

    26. Feb, 2013

    Hi Lolly,

    Great post, and you’ve hit the nail right on the head once again. What resonates most for me is “trust is honoring promises.” Making and keeping commitments is the foundation of building trust. Thanks for your insights and leadership…

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Feb, 2013


      How great to see you here. I TRUST all is well…..

      I can just imagine why “trust is honoring promises” and why its so important to you.

      I have missed you… maybe a visit is in order?


      Reply to this comment
      • Lou

        13. Nov, 2014

        Hi Lollly,

        I’m so happy being a fan of yours quite a while now.
        I am proud of you.
        TRUST is a significant value more than great wealth.

        Thank you for the enlightenment 🙂


        Reply to this comment
    • Shamik Desai

      06. Feb, 2016

      Amazing article Lolly Daskal ! Each subtitle is so precise.
      We often experience trust and mistrust in business and personal life. The article certainly inspires to adopt the positive option. And so well said, “TRUST does not have to be costly. There is a price to pay for NO TRUST and frankly I am not sure its worth the risk not to trust”

      We are grateful to you Dolly for your insights. You do inspire us to choose the right path.Will continue to respect you and pray for you. Thanks indeed !

      Shamik Desai

      Reply to this comment
  2. Martina

    26. Feb, 2013

    Great post Lolly.

    Trust is part of our personal system of integrity. All of the things that you have listed, and so much more, are part of it, but it must all work together in lock-step.

    Trust is the glue that keeps relationships together- personal and organizational.

    It is also one of the few things that is almost impossible to regain once it has been broken.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Feb, 2013


      You know what they say about trust …Trust is like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broken, but you can still see the crack.

      Once trust is broken it is hard to mend.

      And you are correct TRUST is part the elements of integrity.

      Thanks for stopping by, your insights are most valuable.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Jacques Werth

    26. Feb, 2013

    It is entirely possible to gain the trust, of one person at a time, in less than 30 minutes. That outcome can be achieved with about 90% of the people you engage.

    If you teach it to several people in your organization, they can become the foundation of an organizational culture of mutual trust and respect.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Feb, 2013

      You say its entirely possible to gain trust, one person at a time.. yes that is true ….if they have elements of Competence, Connection, Credibility, Communication, Cooperation, Consistency.

      How we act and what we say, matters.

      Thanks for your ever very thoughtful contribution to the article. I truly appreciate you.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Rob Peters

    26. Feb, 2013

    Thank you Lolly for this wonderful article.

    This hyper-connected and emerging social business world requires a leader who can communicate a vision, share a passion, provide support, and trust her team to play their important roles.

    The amount of change industries and businesse are going to experience the next 10 years will rquire a culture of trust that can transcend any technology or business process transformation to satisfy & grow clients

    It is the true servant-leader that will earn Relationship Capital (RC) from his or her stakeholders and will lead by example because trust is a verb.

    In the face of this ever-changing world of business, let the trusted adventures begin.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Feb, 2013


      Wonderful thoughts…. it bears repeating your wisdom. Because I entirely agree!

      The amount of change industries and business are going to experience the next 10 years will rquire a culture of trust that can transcend any technology or business process transformation to satisfy & grow clients

      It is the true servant-leader that will earn Relationship Capital (RC) from his or her stakeholders and will lead by example because trust is a verb.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Reply to this comment
  5. Caín Márquez

    26. Feb, 2013

    Very nice one… it all means that trust is the consecuence of a true leadership!!

    Reply to this comment
  6. Solomon

    26. Feb, 2013

    Lolly, thanks for your usual wisdom!

    Trust is as you pointed out the foundation upon you build relationships. And relationships grow based on the trust you maintain with those you work. However, I don’t think trust is a cheap commodity (as you rightly mentioned) that can be easily gained, especially now at this time when budgets are tight and every decision you make as a leader is seen in different lights, even by your closest ones.
    Thanks again for this wonderful reflection.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Feb, 2013


      I understand the cuts in organizations.
      I see the budgets constraints in companies.
      I know what happens in organization where there is no trust. Total chaos.

      TRUST does not have to be costly. There is a price to pay for NO TRUST and frankly I am not sure its worth the risk not to trust.


      Reply to this comment
  7. Ted Whetstone

    26. Feb, 2013

    Trust is an earned state; it is not a command!

    There are two layers of trust (at least):
    1) Transactional Trust – that you do what you say you will, when you will, etc., including many of your points above.
    2) Authentic Trust – that you trust the integrity of the individual, what they stand for, their values, etc.

    I think too often people focus on the former as evidentiary trust and are afraid to really express the latter.

    For me, the vulnerability and willingness to let people WHO you are as a commitment in the world creates a far greater emotional connection than transactional trust alone. Ideally, both together can create life bonds.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Dave McDowell

    26. Feb, 2013

    Thank you for your insights on trust in leadership. I had to share with you about how your article made an impact on me in what may not have been your expectation as you wrote it. As a retired police sergeant that worked 25 years in the Orange / Los Angeles County area of California the aspects of your article on developing trust within an organization are extremely valuable. However, knowing that you personally came from a background of being homeless and orphaned I immediately had an interest in your article addressing trust.

    I have a passion for protecting children in war torn areas of our world and have some opportunities in the works that may allow my wife and me to relocate to Africa for a few years. As a Christian (which is a word that stirs up the “trust” word in many) I read your article this morning inserting God for any place that referred to boss. It was challenging during this time of waiting on direction. Do I really trust God to know what is best for me? Is he trustworthy? God routinely gets blamed for church problems, hypocrisy, and the failings of others (kind of like supervisors).

    The result – I do trust him. However, the challenge to put my trust into action and not just talk remains. So thank you for the not intended consequence of your article. Trust is such an important topic in the times we live in – thank you for your insights!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Feb, 2013


      Trust is an important topic. That is one of the reasons I will be dedicating a whole series on it after I finish my change series.

      Trust in humans
      Trust in god
      Trust in relationships
      Trust in life
      Trust yourself.

      The endless topics, the questions and the expansive meaning of the subject can be a whole set of articles but for now to address what you mentioned.
      Trust is the glue that holds us all of it together- just as love does.
      And I see you –have love in your heart. You care for others, you care for children.
      You are a beautiful soul Dave, and for that I am honored to know you and grateful I have the opportunity to read all about the good you are doing out in the world.
      Bless you.
      Bless your heart.

      PS read PROOF of HEAVEN and see if you can trust god then..

      Reply to this comment
  9. ghazi fahed. yehia

    26. Feb, 2013

    Thanks lolly
    Great to read more
    God bless u to give more

    Reply to this comment
  10. ghazi fahed. yehia

    26. Feb, 2013

    Trust in you

    Reply to this comment
  11. dawoodchishti

    26. Feb, 2013

    Winning trust means steering the will of others through heart-links. lolly! Unique is your style and canvassing your words are. Being passionate you have lighted another candle of feels.
    Fragrance and smile be yours!

    Reply to this comment
  12. Ilknur Dortkose

    26. Feb, 2013

    Trust others as you would wish to be trusted…the beginning of every relationship. The base of growth and succes personal as well in business. Your words are sincere and very passionate. Your confidence in personal leadership is great. Love to read your blog.

    Reply to this comment
  13. John Paul

    26. Feb, 2013

    Dear Lolly,

    You always inspire me, in more ways than you will ever know. What a wonderful article on trust.

    When i was child, trust was an innate part of my being that enabled me to take that first step and then the next and finally to run. Life was to be explored and shared.

    As i grew older, my memories of betrayal and hurtful events began to cloud that innate point of view. And yet without that sense of empowered being how would i continue with another step?

    People may not always earn my trust but they are always worthy of it. That is because trust is what empowers us to reach out to others, to encourage, praise, and help them. Trust makes it possible to greet each person with a child like smile. And it helps us get back up when we fall.

    I believe that people are innately trusting and worthy of trust. It is the same with hope and love. It’s an essential ingredient for us moving forward – together. As such, trust needs to be honored with the integrity of actions in all the ways you so loving illustrate.

    Thank you.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Dr.Khalid

    26. Feb, 2013

    Very nice article,
    To gain trust of others people have see evidences of your upright and competent character
    The other point many trust the imperfect human being over the Perfect One, God, Allah; hence reversing the formula of the true worship by honoring creation over the true submission to the Creator which leads to the worst consequence ever.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Aziz ur Rehman

    27. Feb, 2013

    what a wonderful article. I like so much. you inspired me very well. I want to learn something to you.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Rb Salleh

    27. Feb, 2013

    I have full trust with your truthful article. I shared it with my friends & office mates.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Rose McSween

    27. Feb, 2013

    Hi Lolly – Check out some of the work of Professor Bob Hurley at Fordham University on trustworthiness. He has recently launched a Consortium of Trustworthy Organizations. You might be interested.
    Best regards – Rose

    Reply to this comment
  18. Nikki Doke

    27. Feb, 2013

    This was an excellent post. It really made me think how often I hear the phrase “Just trust me.” You’re absolutely right that the phrase should not represent reason enough for employees to follow leadership of their organization. The same goes for relationships in all aspects of our lives!

    There is an enormous amount of risk involved in going off of trust–especially when you haven’t been given reasons to follow. People value relationships built on trust and we need to be shown (actions speak louder than words!) solid reasons to put our faith in our leadership. We want to know why. We want to know how.

    Thanks, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  19. Paul Jolicoeur

    03. Mar, 2013

    Thanks Lolly for this post, trust is always a risk. We put hope in another person and trust they will be faithful to the responsibility. Trust requires risk because nothing is certain when we put something we care about in another person’s hands.

    Reply to this comment
  20. Rehan Uddin

    05. Mar, 2013

    A nice thanks Lolly Appu,(in bengali), For this an imperative article with your brilliant wisdom “proud of this pride Trust”

    I truly felicitation you, say to Allah bless your heart and Trust.

    Reply to this comment
  21. D'Anne Hotchkiss

    05. Mar, 2013

    Lolly, while trust is necessary, it is communication and openness that makes trust possible. Tell people what you’re going to do, then do it, then report back on what you’ve done and the results. Ask questions, invite input, adopt the recommendations that you can, modify others so they can be adopted, and when necessary, explain why the remainder cannot become part of the road map for change. At every step, report back and ask more questions. Great post.

    Reply to this comment
  22. aabubakkar.m.a

    09. Mar, 2013

    Lolly i trust you

    Reply to this comment
  23. Jay

    13. Mar, 2013

    Thank you Lolly!

    Very good post, and very relevant as trust is at the core of leadership. I appreciate your insight and wisdom.


    Reply to this comment
  24. Greg Marcus

    17. May, 2013

    Lolly – great advice. And I would add that the converse is true. If you are an employee who is in an organization undergoing change, and your leadership is saying “just trust me”, if they are not transparent and are not keeping promises – you would probably do well not to trust them. Instead, trust your gut.

    Reply to this comment
  25. hammoudakhil

    23. May, 2015

    Thank you so much Lolly
    To trust to chance

    Reply to this comment
  26. Dawood Chishti

    23. May, 2015

    Type your comment here…

    Reply to this comment
  27. Dawood Chishti

    23. May, 2015

    Trust me; It’s a call of the heart.

    Reply to this comment
  28. Nazir

    05. Nov, 2015

    Hi Lolly,
    You are the most wonderful and heart warming woman I have listened and read about, God bless you always and peace and harmony and happiness be with you always too.

    Reply to this comment
  29. Suman cherukuri

    17. Jun, 2016

    Hi Lolly, I am really glad to be part of your network and I am in total agreement that trust defines us and directs us towards larger meaning personally and professionally.

    Have. Great week ahead

    Warm regards
    Suman cherukuri

    Reply to this comment
  30. Erik

    02. Jul, 2016

    Hi Lolly,
    Great post, the foundation of a good workplace is created by organizational truth. As someone who has dealt with individuals in a leadership position, it is amazing how many people demand trust before they develop a relationship with the person. What would happen if either person makes a mistake? Can they overcome the mistake?

    Reply to this comment
  31. Jim Vasconcellos

    23. Aug, 2016

    This is good. But it leaves out key components about Trust as an assessment. When we choose to trust, we are positively assessing the other’s competence in the particular domain of action. Trust is not global. I might trust my kids to have familial loyalty, or to not lie to me, but I won’t let my 5 year old operate the lawn mower, no matter how earnestly she says she can do it without hurting anything. Part of that assessment is based on a known history of behavior. We need to have a more comprehensive model of trust. For more, please read my blog post. I’d love your feedback Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
  32. Jim Russell

    07. Dec, 2017

    Lolly I agree with you. Asking for trust without providing evidence of worth is a tempting shortcut, but it holds no value. Instead, strong and viable relationships plus a record of trustworthiness can make tedious discussions, explanations, and requests more palatable.

    Reply to this comment


  1. Frontline Festival-May 2013: Trust and Transparency Edition - Let's Grow Leaders May 17, 2013

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