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Sinead Quinn

OMT Global

Digital Marketing Executive

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How Leaders build Trust within their Team


Trust is a two way process. Leaders need to trust their team, and teams need to trust their Leader. As a leader, you want your team to perform and to show outstanding results, but how do you expect to show results if your team don’t trust you? Lack of trust is still a growing concern for many organisations. According to a global study 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, one in three people don’t trust their leaders.

Relationships are built on Trust.

“Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something”. Great relationships are built on Trust. It’s the foundation of all personal and business relationships. Could you build a house without the foundations? No! So why should this be any different?

A couple of months ago, I travelled to Bolivia and faced one of my greatest fears. I cycled the Death Road, also known as Yungas Road.  For those of you who are not familiar with the Death Road, it is the world’s most dangerous road, 64km, with a 15,000ft descent, sheer drops and just over 300 deaths a year. The morning quickly approached us and I was feeling nervous and felt a combination of fears. We first met Scott who was our instructor from Gravity and then the rest of the group. From the very minute I met Scott, he made me feel at ease and I felt he just got me. He looked the part which also helped me to relax and have trust in him. Throughout the whole experience, Scott was supportive, educational and easy going and was there for not just me, but the whole group. This was evident as our group gelled so well together right from the beginning and stuck together until the end. I can honestly say if Scott wasn’t our leader I’m sure I wouldn’t have conquered my fear. Finishing with a smile and a feeling of accomplishment. I had survived the Death Road.

Establishing Trust within your Team.

When your team trust you as a leader, they are motivated and willing to go the extra mile. If trust is not present, performance suffers. Time and time again, we hear the same challenges from managers and leaders which simply boil down to lack of trust. Simon Sinek says Leaders determine the environment – therefore trust must come from committed Leadership.

It’s important that Leaders need to be able to build ‘real’ trust across their team, without ‘faking it’. Building trust sounds easy, but in fact, building trust is hard work if you’re not a born natural. It won’t happen overnight. In a previous blog we spoke about 4 principles on how to build and lead high performance teams but without Trust, this won’t happen and will end up costing your organisation.

How to measure Trustworthiness.

The Trust Equation was first introduced in 2000, by author David Maister. David uses four variables to measure how trust works and we believe these can help you as a leader gain trust.

Credibility – relates to your words and is revealed in your credentials and honesty. Are you as a leader credible? Teams trust expertise.

Reliability – relates to your actions and is revealed through keeping your commitments. Are you reliable? Do you keep your promises? Once broken it’s very hard to come back.

Intimacy – relates to your emotions; people feel safe talking to you about difficult topics. Can you keep conversations confidential? Your team need to feel they can confide in you as a leader.

Self-Orientation – this is the common denominator and relates to who you really care about, yourself or others. Do you care about the team? Leaders must believe in their team and have a clear focus on developing them and not just on themselves.

Scott proved that the equation works. He was Credible, Reliable, and Caring but more importantly, he never once put himself before the group.

Don’t ignore it.

Trust between you as a leader and your team is critical and is not something to be ignored. It won’t fix itself and certainly, won’t improve over time.  Trust defines the world’s best workplaces. Again, we need to remember that relationships are built on trust. Once trust is broken it can take years to repair. Don’t let your ego get in the way of repairing relationships, be a Scott and support and believe in your team.

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Sinead Quinn

Digital Marketing Executive

Read more from Sinead Quinn

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