Performance Improvement & Professional Development

5 Keys for Building Trust


“The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust         them.”                                                           Ernest Hemingway


Successful leaders develop relationships with their team based on trust. When employees trust and respect their leader(s) they give extra effort – especially when they feel supported and informed. Trust is the gold standard for relationship building – personally and professionally.

Here are five keys for building trust with your team:

Be Honest – Act With Integrity

Honesty and integrity are the foundations of trust in any organization, and these behaviors must begin at the top. Managers must be consistently truthful, regardless of the circumstances. Share good and bad news openly. This can eliminate gossip and diffuse inappropriate behavior. Great managers know that they are not perfect and they will make mistakes. Better to admit mistakes rather than ignore them or cover them up (which is probably the greatest single enemy to trust.) Do what you say you will do and make your actions visible. Team members quickly pick up on insincerity and broken promises.

Share Your Vision – Model Your Values

Your employees want to know where the organization is going as well as the methods for getting there. Sharing the vision assures your followers you know where you’re going – and where they can go as well.

Sharing – and modeling – organizational values builds trusting relationships. Saying what you and the company believe is one thing – showing it is another. Walking your talk builds strong and lasting relationships.

Communicate Openly

Managers who communicate openly and frequently build relationships and trust with the team. Don’t make team members guess what you’re thinking. No news is perceived as bad news. A lack of interaction erodes trust. Face to face interaction is always best. If your team works off-site, frequent and honest communication becomes even more important.

Be Consistent and Predictable

Building trust is a process – which starts by establishing norms and expectations. Trust results from your consistent and predictable interaction over time. When your behavior becomes a guessing game – trust erodes.

Be Accessible and Responsive

Find ways to be available to team members. Some employees require more attention than others but being accessible to everyone on your team builds trust. When interacting with team members, be responsive and action oriented. Modeling a “can do” attitude and behavior strengthens work relationships.


Building trust with employees is critical for creating an effective team that works well together. Taking time to build the trust of your team will pay huge dividends.

About the Author

Les Taylor is the founder and managing partner of Outperformers International. He is an award-winning author, professional speaker and recognized expert in the field of performance improvement and professional development. Les is a former law enforcement executive, served as the executive director of the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and is a past president of the Arizona Chapter of the National Speakers Association.

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