"KLR were true pros at understanding our company, our organization's needs and setting specific goals for each of our employees in order to achieve our company objectives. You can count on KLR Consulting to not only meet, but exceed your every "people" need you have in your company. Kristi and KLR have saved us thousand of dollars with their support and training."

Lee C. Scheuer, CEO
ProInsurance Services

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Leaders: Trust Can Change Everything

(posted: July 31st, 2012)

Building trust is one of the most critical challenges facing our society today.

It is what we as leaders should all be about.

"We are in a crisis of trust."

It affects us on all levels: societal, institutional, organizational, relational, and personal. And It has a perpetuating effect - Lack of trust begets an even greater lack of trust.

Research shows:

  • Only 51% of employees have trust and confidence in senior management
  • Only 36% of employees believe their leaders act with honesty and integrity
  • Over the past 12 months, 76% of employees have observed illegal or unethical conduct on the job. If exposed, these actions would seriously violate the public trust.

What Drives Employees Away?

The number one reason people leave their jobs is a bad relationship with their boss.

In my years of work with 360-degree assessments I have found that the question, "Do you trust your boss?" is one that elicits true concern from employees.

This is the one question that is more predictive of team and organizational performance than any other question we ask. Trust is the glue that bonds great people, processes, and environments; it ensures long-term success. In life and in business, relationships are important, but they are empty unless they are established with trust and based on trust.

"Trust is the fundamental building block for a brand and it is the glue for any lasting relationship"

Horst H. Schultz

There are 10 primary drivers of employee engagement. Trust people have in their leader is the #1 driver. When the employees trust an organization's leaders, and the leaders create a culture of trust, everyone becomes trustworthy and then people can operate synergistically and non-defensively.

Trust enables employees to work quickly and efficiently to achieve great results for their employers.

Implementing Trust and Engagement

Trust and engagement are twin engines; as you increase trust it drives engagement. Together, the two forces create a positive, upward cycle.

Trust is the root driver of engagement.

If people don't trust you, they won't engage no matter how many other drivers are working. Employees need to trust that you have their best interests in mind.

When you move the needle into the green on trust, you will increase engagement.

"No quality or characteristic is more important than trust. It is the foundation for building a team."

Patrick Lencioni

First, as always, start with yourself:

  • How engaged am I with my team and people?
  • How credible am I?

In my presentations, I often ask audiences to consider the question, "Who do you trust?" A friend? A work associate? Your boss?

  • Why do you trust this person?
  • What is it that inspires the trust of others?

Then I ask them, "Who trusts you?"

According to Patrick Lencioni's fabulous book, "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team," the definitions of trust include:


  • Environment of good will and caring
  • Positive interactions
  • Appreciation expressed
  • Fair
  • Confidences maintained
  • "Well-being" is looked after
  • Willing to go the extra mile


  • Walking the talk
  • Truthfulness
  • Agreements honored
  • Authenticity
  • Responsibilities accepted
  • Manipulation avoided
  • Committed to doing what is right


  • Consistency
  • Dependability
  • Demonstrated commitment
  • Dedicated to mission
  • Diligent


  • Open communications
  • Genuine talking and listening
  • Sharing important information
  • Important information not hidden
  • Shared decision-making
  • Shared power


  • Perform to expectations
  • Demonstrated skill in areas of professional accountability
  • Setting standards of excellence
  • Results oriented
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Willingness to fulfill responsibilities

Trust Starts with You

It is about our willingness to be vulnerable, our credibility, and behavior. Do what you say you will do, and follow through with actions. Make a commitment and keep it.

"If you think the problem is out there, that very thought is the problem."

Steven Covey

Has your team built a high-trust culture?

Build it Yourself

Trust is tangible, measurable, and most importantly, something that we can build more easily than we think.

"I am convinced that in every situation, nothing is as fast as the speed of trust. And, contrary to popular belief, trust is something you can do something about. In fact, you can get good at creating it."

Steven Covey

It is possible not only to build trust, but also to restore it. I have seen it done over and over again. Obviously, there are some circumstances in which trust has truly been damaged beyond repair or where others may not give us a chance to restore it, but I am convinced that for most of us, these circumstances are few.

I believe our ability to restore trust is much, much greater than we think.

"The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today."

Chinese proverb

Trust is at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team.

Patrick Lencioni's organization has an incredible assessment that I have very effectively utilized to help companies learn to use the Five Dysfunctions to transform their organizations. If you are interested in learning more, please Contact Me and let me know any way I can further assist you with your interests and questions.

Challenge Yourself
  • How would you rate yourself on these behaviors?
  • How would your team rate you? Are you believable?
  • Are you credible? Are you someone your people can trust?
  • Are you someone you can trust?
  • Has your team built a high-trust culture?
  • When are you going to start, and what are the first steps you are going to take?

This blog post was originally published at www.linked2leadership.com.


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