In his best selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” Patrick Lencioni listslack of trust as the first issue that leads to dysfunction within a team.


Ron Edmondson shares wisdom on gaining and keeping trust as a leader on his blog, posted on October 30, 2012. Find Ron’s blog under the “ Learn From These Leaders” on the Welcome page at

People follow people they trust. Do you want to be a trusted leader? Let people learn to trust you.

I’ve found trust develops over time and experience, as we witness trustworthy behavior. Honestly, it’s a delicate balance, because while the leader needs to be strong, independent and confident, a trusted leader must be approachable, inclusive and humble.

Here are 7 ways to gain and keep trust as a leader:

1. Always display confidence, but never cockiness. People will trust a competent leader, but one who is arrogant will be dismissed quickly.

2. Always follow through, so don’t over-commit. When a leader does what he or she says they will, people gain trust. When the leader always bails on responsibility, people begin to doubt everything the leader says.

3. Always put trust in others, so they’ll put trust in you. Trust is a mutually exclusive commodity. People won’t extend you trust they don’t feel they receive from you.

4. Always extend grace, but be firm in some non-negotiables. (I wrote mine HERE) We need to allow people the freedom make their own way, including the freedom to fail, make mistakes, and be assured we will forgive them if needed. We should have, however, some standards which are not open to discussion. Those should usually be issues of character, vision or values.

5. Always try to be knowledgeable and aware by constantly learning, but realize you don’t know everything and you’ll know far more with a team. People trust a teachable leader. They are leery of a leader who knows it all…or pretends they do.

6. Always exhibit humility, but take great pride in your work. A humble, but diligent and effective leader is a trusted leader. It’s as simple as that.

7. Always value people more than you value progress. This is especially difficult for driven leaders, but people trust people they trust care for them.