Leaders and trust - building leadership trust with your team and yourself | Brighten Project

How to use TRUST to fuel your leadership

thought leadership Jan 22, 2024


TRUST - we often talk about who we trust and who we don't trust, and when it comes to leadership, it's a pivotal building block in our relationships to ensure we get the most from our teams and from ourselves. Trust fuels our performance, it speeds up collaboration and it is an intangible element that's present in all interactions - let's dig deeper. 


The Importance of Trust in Leadership

Trust Facilitates Open Communication: When trust is present, team members feel safe to express ideas and concerns, leading to more innovative and effective solutions. For example: I trust that you won't judge me, this is what I'm thinking.

Trust Boosts Team Morale: Trusted leaders create a positive work environment, enhancing job satisfaction and retention. For example: I trust in your capabilities, I'll let you get on with it.

Trust Enhances Agility and Speed: As Stephen Covey highlights in his book "The Speed of Trust", trust accelerates operations and decision-making, saving time and resources. For example: I trust your intentions so I don't need to grill you.


Building Trust as a Leader: Practical Tips

  • Be Consistent: Consistency in actions and words builds reliability. Ensure your actions align with your promises.
  • Show Empathy: Understand and acknowledge your team’s perspectives and challenges. Empathy fosters a deeper connection and trust.
  • Communicate Transparently: Keep your team informed about decisions and changes. Transparency eliminates uncertainty and builds trust.
  • Empower Your Team: Give your team autonomy and show confidence in their abilities. Empowerment demonstrates trust in their skills and judgment.
  • Acknowledge and Rectify Mistakes: Owning up to mistakes and taking corrective action shows integrity and responsibility, key elements of trust.
  • Celebrate Successes and Provide Constructive Feedback: Recognise achievements and offer feedback in a constructive manner. This balance of appreciation and growth fosters a trusting relationship.


Remember that trust is a two-way street. You want your team to trust you BUT you should also trust your team. 

Trusting your team looks like: 

  • Letting Them Make Decisions on areas within their responsibility. Don't crowd them, don't overrule them - let your team do their jobs. If they make a call that you don't agree with, and it doesn't end up working out, you have the discussion afterwards and make it a learning opportunity. The only time I'd ever recommend jumping in is if it's an emergency, like you might lose a client, or someones safety's at risk, or there is a serious risk of failure that you can't come back from.
  • Not Micromanaging. You give your team room to act, grow, work.
  • Respecting Their Life/Work Balance: Show that you trust your team to manage their time effectively by respecting their work-life balance. Avoid encroaching on their personal time with non-urgent work matters.

  • Give Constructive Feedback: Provide feedback that helps them grow and improve, rather than micromanaging or criticising. This shows that you trust their ability to learn and evolve.


Trust in leadership is not just about being liked (although if people trust you, they usually tend to like you - phew) it’s about creating an environment where everyone thrives. It’s about being a leader who is reliable, empathetic, transparent, empowering, accountable, and balanced.




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