Here is an excerpt from Leadership Matters. It contains 31 daily insights to inspire extraordinary results.

day 28: Trust

Trust is the basis for all successful leaders and all successful relationships for that matter. You cannot buy trust, but it is free. Trust is priceless yet can be earned over time.

Have you ever tried to request someone’s trust? Maybe it was a team member, customer or a colleague. You may have wanted a decision to be made in your favor.

To overcome some initial disagreement and expedite the decision making process, you might resort to “Hey, just trust me!” That statement is worthless. Either the other party already trusted you based on your past actions or they did not trust you and your request won’t change that.

Trust is not spoken, it is demonstrated. Trust cannot be requested, it must be earned.

Trust is the wheel that makes relationships go ‘round. Losing trust is not just like getting a flat tire; it’s like losing the whole wheel!

So, we need to earn and nurture our team’s trust every day – whether a team at home or work. A trusting team:

  • Is more open to change
  • Delivers better service
  • Focuses on finding win-win solutions
  • Has lower turnover
  • Shares unfiltered information to help the team be successful
  • Quickly forgives their leader if he/she makes a mistake.

Trust is also complex. There are complete books dedicated to trust that do not even address all of its facets. Let’s boil it down to this simple Trust Test:

  1. Do you serve your team’s best interests?
    (Not your own interests)
  2. Do you communicate all the information they need to be successful?
    (Don’t make assumptions about what you think “they can handle”. Leaders who underestimate the intelligence of their teams generally overestimate their own.)
  3. Do you keep your commitments?
    (Leaders must watch their words because even a casual comment can be interpreted as a commitment.)

Notice these simple questions are geared toward how trustworthy you are vs. how much you trust your team. No passing or failing here – we can all improve our trust building behaviors.

Today’s winners are bold enough to be honest with themselves make necessary changes. Now more than ever, your team’s success may come down to a matter of trust.

Action Questions:

1. What do I need to more fully communicate to my team to build their trust in me?

2. Which of my habits or assumptions might prevent me from demonstrating trust in my team?


Leadership Matters is full of simple truths that everybody can use in their work and life.  Read this little book and thoroughly consider its timeless messages.  It will make you a better leader and a better person.

Ken Blanchard
Co-author, The One Minute Manager