The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.
–Brian Tracy

Why Trust and Integrity Are Key Leadership Qualities

Trust and integrity. It’s no wonder that these 2 qualities appear on almost every successful leader’s profile. You won’t succeed as a leader unless you have the confidence and trust of your team, your peers, and your customers, and your team will not succeed if the members are perceived as not trustworthy.


  • To be a leader (successful or otherwise), you must have followers.
  • You can’t succeed without the trust and confidence of your team.
  • Your peers, subordinates, and co-workers will work around you if you are perceived as untrustworthy or not living the values you require from them.
  • To be successful, integrity must be a constant.

Tom Peters says: There is no such thing as a minor lapse in integrity (or trust).

(Excerpt from For Your Improvement by Lombardo and Eichinger)

A skilled leader:

  • Is widely trusted
  • Is seen as a direct, truthful individual
  • Can present the unvarnished truth in an appropriate and helpful manner
  • Keeps confidences
  • Admits mistakes
  • Doesn’t misrepresent him/herself for personal gain

Leadership Mistakes That Cause Loss of Trust

These common leadership mistakes can cause trust to be lost or to never obtained in the first place. As your reading, be honest with yourself about whether or not you could be committing any of these mistakes.

  • Being too direct. People can be caught off guard and become uncomfortable. As a result, the message is lost.
  • Pointing fingers or being too quick to assess blame.
  • Playing favorites or only give a “chosen few” opportunities.
  • Jumping to conclusions.
  • Failure to solicit opinions or alternative ideas.
  • Doesn’t “walk the talk.”
  • Inability to say no and over committing.
  • Not treating others respectfully.
  • Won’t take a stand. (Or making one and continually changing it.)
  • Personal disorganization.
  • Inconsistent behaviors, habits, and expectations.
  • Lack of responsiveness.
  • Inability to admit mistakes.

Suggestions for Leadership Growth

If you think you are exhibiting any of the above trust eroding behaviors, here are some tips to help you become a better, more trustworthy leader.

  • Take time to assess all the reasons others may have for not trusting you. Write them down!
  • Determine what skills you overuse or under-use.
  • Select a highly trusted leader; identify the behaviors that make them successful, and add them to your daily routine.
  • Set boundaries! This will help with time management and priorities.

When people honor each other, there is a trust established that leads to synergy, interdependence, and deep respect. Both parties make decisions and choices based on what is right, what is best, what is valued most highly.
–Blaine Lee

Trust produces positive and productive relationships and improves results. Communication lines are open, conflicts are addressed in a healthy manner, collaboration is enhanced, and creativity and new ideas flow.

No wonder trust and integrity are keys to individual and team success!

What other suggestions do you have for building trust and maintaining integrity levels with your co-workers and other business relationships?


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Last week’s tip focused on what leaders are willing to sacrifice (pay cuts) to help their staff feel valued.

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