Trustworthy Leadership


One of the business issues gaining in importance is the trust – or lack of trust – that we have in our large corporations.  With all the CEO scandals, bankruptcies, bailouts and just plain bad behavior of some business leaders, trust is at a low.  In the research that I’ve done for my new book, The Leadership Contract, only 7% of employees trust their senior leaders.

Forbes recently conducted a survey with the help of GMT Ratings  to identify the most transparent and trustworthy businesses that trade on the American exchanges.  The research looked at the quality of corporate accounting and management practices.  These are critical components of a trustworthy organization.  The good news emerging from the survey is that despite the low trust in America’s largest public companies, there are many that are models of openness and integrity.  These companies excelled at consistently demonstrating transparent and conservative accounting practices.  They also have solid corporate governance and management.  They also don’t play around with the numbers, nor have excessive executive compensation plans.

But to me, trustworthiness goes beyond transparent accounting practices.  It’s also about the trustworthiness displayed by leaders day-to-day.

Take a moment and consider the following questions:

  1. Are you seen as a trustworthy leader by your direct reports and colleagues?
  2. Are you a leader that others can place their trust in you?
  3. Do others believe that you will not betray their trust?
  4. Are you a leader that is constantly earning your own level of trustworthiness?

To me, these are some of the most fundamental questions that every leader today must address in their own personal leadership.

Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.




7 Comments on “Trustworthy Leadership

  1. This really resonates, Vince. Trust is fundemental to employee engagement. Knightsbridge is about to launch it’s second Passion Capital awards program and I bet that if you spoke to last years winners they would tell you that trust in leadership was fundemental to the development of their passion fueled cultures.

  2. Great and timely post, Vince. I’d like to see a follow up post about how leaders go about earning their levels of trustworthiness. Once a scandal has led to broken trust, what can a leader do to rebuild it?

    • Thanks for the suggestion Lisa. I will start working on the next blog. What are your thoughts on what a leader can do?

  3. I agree that trust is a key issue facing leaders today. Most of the surveys I’ve seen into what followers look for in a leader, trust comes in the top three. This is then often associated with leaders being authentic.

    • You are right Terry. Trust is at the core of leadership. It also works both ways. We need to be able to trust our leaders, and leaders need to be able to trust employees.

  4. Great point. With full trust people are prepared to unleash their passion. Without it, they hold back and passion is squelched. Thanks for responding.

  5. Hi Vince;
    It has been a long time since we have spoken but as always we seem to share the same thoughts on things relating to Leadership. I am astounded at the 7% stat you have quoted which certainly says that there is a lot of work to do to get Trust back into the workplace.
    I started a Blog a few months back and interestingly asked the question “Are you a Trusted Leader”?
    Would love to have you check it out and comment as believe we are on the same page.
    Thanks again for your posts and as always your insights.
    Best regards;
    Jim Nicholson

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