The importance of Trust in Business.

Updated: Feb 18

In his book ‘5 dysfunctions of a team’ Patrick Lencioni reveals the issues which go to the very heart of why teams even the best ones-often struggle. He talks about the foundation of all high-performance teams; Trust and how it is fundamental in building a cohesive, effective team.

Pyramid of essentials to a team trust constructive conflict commit accountable results

Terry Leahy former Tesco’s CEO says that “Trust is the most important element of management.” In his book ‘Management in ten words’ he says “Trust is the bedrock of leadership.” And “a truly successful leader breeds a culture of trust and confidence in the organisation”


Now, I have always had the knack of getting people to trust me. Often very quickly. For years I did not really understand how I did it, it just seemed to happen. I must admit, I hadn’t really thought about ‘the how’ that deeply. Its trust, it just grows right?


However, at a recent conference a speaker talked about The Trust Equation and it all slipped into place. The Trusted Advisors’ Charles H. Green developed a model that shows trust being made up of 4 elements.

  • Are you credible on the subject matter you are talking about, the project you are leading?

  • Are you reliable? Do you do what you say you will, on time. Do your actions match your words.

  • Are you safe with the relationship? Do you keep confidences and do people feel secure in your presence?

  • Finally, where is your focus? Do you put others before yourself? Are you more bothered about how you will look than doing the right thing?

Have a look at the image below and then think of a friend, a business associate, even a family member where trust as eroded. I bet you one of the elements on the right-hand side of the equals sign has been damaged some way.

Trust equation credibility reliability intimacy self-orientation

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

Stephen Covey



Trusted leaders can take a group further than they would have gone themselves. Trust helps people change. Trust helps people become leaders themselves.


Conclusion - It is imperative that we work on our business relationships to increase the trust levels.


There are several practical actions we can focus on to improve trust:-

  1. Be yourself – We can all spot someone who is being false with us.

  2. Be open and vulnerable – Give others the opportunity to feel they are trusted.

  3. Be honest – Tell the truth, no matter how hard to do.

  4. Be driven – Deliver on your promises. Do what you say you are going to do.

  5. Be trusting yourself – A missing dimension trust is also you, putting your trust in your team.

  6. Put others first – Make sure you think of others before yourself. Put yourself in their shoes.

  7. Keep it personal and spend time with folks – This will build opportunities to demonstrate C, R, I and S.

  8. Praise more than criticize – Focus on peoples positive and build on these.

  9. Empower others - let go of some of the power you have as a leader.


“Keep your promises and be consistent. Be the kind of person others can trust.”

Roy T. Bennett


Who is joining me? I have identified a couple of people I’d like to build my trust with and I’m going to get a practical with it. Come on! Let us give others the chance to be credible, reliable, and to can keep things safe and secure.



Hand helping person climb trust

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