15 Trust-Building Practices for Leaders

UPDATED: February 11, 2016
PUBLISHED: January 7, 2015

Are you honest? Are you straightforward and fair? Are you a good listener? Are you reliable—do you keep your promises? Can they trust you?

Trust is everything, especially if you are leading another person, a team or a company toward a shared goal or mission. Without a credible reputation, your followers will be hesitant, uncomfortable and unsure of whom they’re really following. And that insecurity, that lack of confidence, can crumble the loyalty and united support that’s vital in an organization’s success.

So how do you become trustworthy? Remember, good intentions are just the beginning. Here are 15 ways to build and strengthen your credibility as a leader, adapted from Follow Your Conscience by Frank Sonnenberg, author of Marketing to Win and Managing with a Conscience.

1. Show people that you care about their needs.

2. A promise should be as binding as a contract.

3. Never sacrifice a long-term relationship for a short-term gain.

4. Don’t expect people to look up to you if you look down on them.

5. Give credit where credit is due.

6. The danger of shooting from the hip is hitting yourself in the foot.

7. Take the time to provide the rationale behind your recommendations.

8. Be objective.

9. Stand up for the things that you believe in. (Waffles are for breakfast.)

10. Never ask someone to do something that you’re unwilling to do yourself.

11. Your actions must match your words.

12. Think before you open your mouth.

13. You gain more by making others look good than by singing your own praises.

14. Words spoken in confidence are words spoken in trust.

15. Few people will fault you for being tough, if you’re fair.

Would you trust you? Check out 14 more quick but valuable credibility tips and principles to keep in your back pocket.

Frank Sonnenberg is an award-winning author. He was recently named one of “America's Top 100 Thought Leaders” and nominated as one of “America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts.” FrankSonnenbergOnline was named among the “Best 21st Century Leadership Blogs.”