Are You a Trustworthy Leader?

One of the most important jobs of a leader is to build trust among their teams.

If you lead a team where gossip is the norm, ideas are never challenged, or people don’t feel comfortable admitting mistakes, then there’s a trust problem.

The difference between low-trust and high-trust organizations is striking.

Research led by Professor Paul Zak, author of Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies, found that compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies reported:

  • 50% higher productivity
  • 70% more alignment with their companies’ purpose
  • 13% fewer sick days
  • 76% more engagement
  • 29% more satisfaction with their lives
  • 40% less burnout

Creating a high-trust culture begins at the top. As a leader, the best place to start is to ask, “How Trustworthy am I?”

Consider the following questions to gauge how others view your trustworthiness.

10 Questions to Determine if You Are A Trustworthy Leader

  1. How often do I promote viewpoints that are different from my own and encourage open conflict, dialogue and debate within my team?
  2. Do I acknowledge when I make a mistake?
  3. Do I help my team unemotionally deconstruct mistakes and failures to uncover the learning, without finger-pointing or blame?
  4. Do I clearly communicate priorities and why they are important?
  5. When priorities shift, do I explain why?
  6. Am I receptive to hearing bad news or negative feedback?
  7. Am I reliable and do I follow-through on the things I say I’m going to do?
  8. Do I make myself available to all levels of employees, listen without judgement and keep conversations confidential?
  9. Do I show up to meetings on time and make my team feel that their time is as valuable as mine?
  10. Is there minimal gossip and disrespect among my team?

Whether you lead a large global company or a small work-team, trust is the foundation for great leadership.

How do you measure up?


Marta Steele is a Partner at PeopleResults.