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5 Traits of Trustworthy Leadership

By Garrett Spence   |    January 16, 2017   |    10:27 AM


Top Characteristics of a Good, Trustworthy Leader

Trust is an essential part of any healthy and productive workplace. If you’re in a leadership role, it’s up to you to facilitate and foster that trust.

Here are five leadership habits and traits that all trustworthy leaders possess. If you can master them, you’ll be on the right track in your business. Your team will believe in you and your vision, and you’ll all be poised to help the business grow.

1. Consistency

Your employees need to know that your behavior and beliefs will be consistent from one day to the next. If you act erratically and change your mind constantly, it’ll be impossible for anyone to trust your leadership because they have no idea what to expect (or what’s expected of them).

Setting a mission statement and making a commitment to living your brand’s values are two great places to start when you’re developing greater consistency in your leadership.

2. Follow-through

A big part of trust is knowing that someone will do what they say they’re going to do. You need to remain true to your word if you want to be seen as an effective, trustworthy leader.

So, if you promise an employee that you’ll do regular status reviews on the last Friday of every month, make sure you stick to your plan. If something does come up, communication is imperative. Explain the “Why?” behind any changes so that your team is always in the loop.

3. Grace under pressure

Keeping a cool head is another way to prove that you’re trustworthy. Remaining calm when something goes wrong demonstrates level-headed clarity that shows you’re focused on the big picture.

No one trusts a leader who yells, demeans team members, or gets flustered at the drop of a hat. Take a moment to collect your thoughts if you must, but always aim to stay calm.

4. Delegation skills

You can’t do everything on your own — that’s why you have employees and other team members to help you grow your business.

Trust is also a two-way street, and you have to relinquish some control to establish it with the people you work with. You probably wouldn’t trust someone who doesn’t trust you, and the same is true for your team. Give them the tools and training they need to succeed and then trust that they’ll get the job done.

5. Share credit, take blame

As the leader of a business, you're ultimately viewed as responsible for the company's successes and failures. It's called the "leader attribution error," and you can use it to your advantage to build trust.

According to social psychologist Roderick Kramer, “... there’s a little bit of evidence that suggests that when leaders are generous at sharing credit, they actually are more trusted … It shows that they are fully confident.”

So, make it known that you’re calling the shots, but don’t forget to generously share credit with your team. If something does go wrong, demonstrate your confidence and admit full responsibility, even if it wasn’t just you. You’ll be shocked at how quickly trust begins to develop.

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