In our work and personal lives, most of us have directly experienced the importance of trust, both positive and negative. In the workplace specifically, research supports this. One study (Helliwell and Huang, 2008) found that a 10% increase in trust in management is equivalent to a 36% increase in monetary compensation with regard to an employee’s overall satisfaction.

 Trust is a critical component of leadership effectiveness. Unless you have no interdependencies, it’s really hard to get anything done without it.

 Below are five factors addressing trust in two ways, both in how others see and react to you.

  • COMPETENT—You know what you are doing.
  •  BELIEVABLE—You tell the truth and are transparent. “I say what I mean,” and “I share relevant information.”
  •  RELIABLE—You follow through. Your words and actions consistently match. “I mean what I say.”
  •  CONNECTED—You are on their side. “I belong to the same tribe.”
  •  VULNERABLE—You trust others.

Research shows that others—employees included—are significantly more likely to trust you when they perceive that you are competent, believable, reliable, connected, and vulnerable.

 Building that kind of trust requires an investment in time and energy. But, as with any investment, what is important is the long-term payoff.


Which of the five factors is your strongest?


  • Helliwell and Huang, 2008