The Best Way for Leaders to Build Trust

Trust, Smart Leaders, Great Leaders, Leadership

If there’s a single element that can be considered the core of great leadership, it’s trust. Trust fuels everything leaders want for themselves and their teams, from productivity to imagination. And in its absence it’s nearly impossible for a team to be effective. Maybe that’s why leaders talk about trust constantly—having it, measuring it, earning it.

But “earning” isn’t really the right word. Trust isn’t so much earned as it is built, little by little, day by day. Here are some of the most important blocks to set in place when you’re building trust:

Character is the foundation of trust. Without it, leaders rely on externals like rank and seniority, but they’ll never be successful without the trust and commitment of those they lead. Character means holding high standards and clear, consistent values that you live every day.

Competence alone won’t make others trust you—but a lack of competence is a quick way to make them mistrust you. Competence doesn’t mean you know how to do everything. It means you know what needs to be done, understand how it fits with your team’s strengths and weaknesses, and can make a plan to ensure it happens.

Communication is essential to an environment of trust where leadership can effectively engage employees and deliver results. To be successful, communication needs to flow in both directions with clarity, transparency and timeliness. It takes daily practice over time for a leader and team to get communication right.

Connection begins with mutual respect and loyalty—with leadership that’s not about power and control but adding value to the work of others and helping them grow in every aspect of their lives. Connections build trust and vice versa.

Commitment is the visible expression of trust in creating and caring for a partnership. In leadership, when you make a commitment you create a priority and a level of engagement that goes far beyond a promise.

Common purpose is the final bond that deepens trust with the assurance that everyone is moving and working in the same direction, sharing the same values and aspirations.

LEAD FROM WITHIN: The best leaders build trust, because trust has the most enduring power and the widest influence.

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.

  1. Dana

    25. Mar, 2017

    All great points! Trust is also about the employee believing that the boss has their best interest in mind and is willing to go to bat for them.

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    • Ege Sarisenoglu

      26. Feb, 2018

      That is right Dana. What it all boils down I believe regarding trust is having a mindset of giving more to people than you expect from them. Being a total value giver. And actually not expecting anything from them just asking, because you are ultimately not dependent upon them cause you have their best interest in mind. And you have the ultimate positive intention which actually trumps everything even if something bad happens or someone loses trust on you you do not actually care because on the macro picture you will prove everyone that does not trust you wrong.

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  2. Kevin McReynolds

    09. Jun, 2017

    Lolly I think that you make some great points when it comes to building trust. Trust is the foundation of any leader because without that trust everything is lost. But I think trust goes hand and hand with communication. Communication is something that is needed to build trust and vital to the process.

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  3. David Brown

    09. Jul, 2017

    The relationship between Communication and Trust is a “chicken or the egg” dilemma. Leaders need to recognize and develop meaningful ways to build trust through open and honest communication. The reality is Communication and Trust are sympatico.

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  4. feimon wu

    30. Apr, 2018

    yes , your are right , because you have summarized several experience of your ,that are the characters ,competences ,communication ,connection, commitment and common purpose, it is very important for a high quality administrator ,and it is very important for a administrator that his or her character, if a administrator have not a high quality character ,he or her would not acquire the worthy of the stuffs, it is the reason why there are such many corruption in our country.

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