The Three Elements of Trust

Harvard Business Review Excerpt, February 5, 2019

As a leader, you want the people in your organization to trust you. And with good reason. In our coaching with leaders, we often see that trust is a leading indicator of whether others evaluate them positively or negatively. But how to create that trust, or perhaps more importantly, how reestablish it when you’ve lost it isn’t always that straightforward. By analyzing over 80,000 360-degree reviews, the authors found that there are three elements that predict whether a leader will be trusted by his direct reports, peers, and other colleagues. These are positive relationships, consistency, and good judgment/expertise. When a leader was above average on each of these elements, they were more likely to be trusted, and positive relationships appeared to be the most important element in that, without it, a leader’s trust rating fell most significantly. Trust is an important currency in organizations and any leader would be wise to invest time in building it by focusing on these three elements.

  1. How are you building positive relationships?
  2. What disciplines keep you consistent?
  3. How are you attaining good judgement and experitse?

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