People don’t follow managers, they follow leaders. A leader embodies something that a follower wants to be a part of; a leader creates authentic relationships with their people.

Trust is the greatest determinant of success in relationships, in business or otherwise – people by nature seek confidence and belief in their partners, peers and bosses. The Human Capital Institute (HCI) defines it as “the willingness to put oneself at risk based on another individual’s actions.”

Here are two HUGE reasons why trust matters in the workplace:


Teams that trust each other outperform teams that don’t (HCI Study – Building Trust 2013: Workforce Trends Defining High Performance). According to the report: “Employees at strong-performing organisations see their leaders as consistently walking the talk by modeling and reflecting the organization’s values.”


The same study by HCI also found, something we know all too well by now, that productivity is highly linked to employee engagement. And what drives engagement? A high degree of trust.

A Gallup survey found that 51% of actively disengaged associates would get rid of their leader if they could, and one quarter of all employees say they would like the opportunity. What then, are our leaders doing to solidify relationships of trust? As a leader, what should you be doing? Let’s find out.

TrustedAdvisor says “The challenge is having a conceptual framework and analytical way of evaluating
and understanding trust. Without the proper framework for evaluating trust, there’s no actionable way to improve our trustworthiness.” To do this, they use The Trust Equation — a set of four objective variables created to measure trustworthiness:

Credibility (the extent to which the other person/people believe your words and actions, and the level of which you have the experience)
Reliability (the extent to which you have followed through on promises/commitments historically)
Intimacy (your ability to create a personal connection/how secure you make this person/these people feel)
Self-Orientation (your true focus — self or otherwise). (trust equation image)
The Trust Equation has one variable in the denominator and three in the numerator. Increasing the value of the factors in the numerator increases the value of trust. Increasing the value of the denominator — self-orientation — decreases the value of trust.

For example, on a day-to-day level, a leader who’s seen to be doing the following, if their Self-direction is in check, will naturally incur a higher level of trust because these actions increase the Credibility, Reliability and Intimacy held in the relationship between leader and follower:

It’s just maths people! Make an active effort to up the following eleven things and start building trust in your relationships today:


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