Leadership Lessons

Building Trust


Teams that trust their leader are more cohesive and are able to get more done in less time. When there is trust, people give the leader the benefit of the doubt and move forward. Without strong trust, people question, hesitate, and "wait and see."

Building trust isn’t always easy. There is no finish line to creating, building, and maintaining trust. It can take a long time to fully establish, yet be lost in an instant. People decide to trust (or not trust) leaders based on the leader’s behaviors and actions, not their intent, and leadership behavior is always on display for all to see.

Where should a leader start building trust? Stephen M. R. Covey, an expert on leadership and ethics has identified thirteen behaviors of trusted leaders:
  1. Talk Straight
  2. Demonstrate Respect
  3. Create Transparency
  4. Right Wrongs
  5. Show Loyalty
  6. Deliver Results
  7. Get Better
  8. Confront Reality
  9. Clarify Expectations
  10. Practice Accountability
  11. Listen First
  12. Keep Commitments
  13. Extend Trust
Each behavior is important on its own, but the true impact comes from all thirteen. As a leader, what do each of these behaviors mean to you? Which behaviors would your team say you are good at? Which would they say need work?

(Adapted in part from The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M. R. Covey.)


Each month, the HR Center for Learning and Leadership spotlights an excerpt from a leadership publication.

Recommendations for future leadership lessons may be submitted to askHR@baylor.edu.