Trust: The Foundation of Leadership

Charles Green said, "leaders can no longer trust in power; instead, they rely on the power of trust" (2012).  Trust is the very foundation of all relationships.  Without trust, the relationship cannot flourish and will not grow.  Previously, when discussing leadership, the emphasis was on reaching the top of your organization and having power.  Now the emphasis is on building relationships, emotional intelligence, authenticity, and most importantly, trust.  In essence, leadership became more about persuasion than power.  My questions to you are: how do you define trust and how can you build trust?

Google the definition of trust and you will receive over 19 million results.  I think Michelle Bligh said it best, "Trust is a dynamic, interpersonal link between people, with unique implications for the workplace.  Trust is defined as an expectation or belief that one can rely on another person's actions and words and that the person has good intentions to carry out their promises" (2017 p. 21).  A leader and those he or she leads both play a critical role in the establishment, preservation, destruction, and repair of trusting relationships. 


Building trust is not easy.  There are three fundamental components that must be present before trust can exist: ability, integrity, and benevolence.  Trust cannot exist if one of the components is not present, it's all or nothing.  Lets briefly discuss each one.  Ability refers to the perception that the other person has the knowledge and skills to do the job.  Simply, this is the perception of competency. Integrity refers to the perception that the other person will follow sound ethical or moral principles.  In essence, is the person honorable, honest, and of good character?  Lastly, benevolence refers to the perception that the other person is selfless, caring, and aware of how his or her actions will affect others.  To be an effective leader not only do you need to gain the trust of those you lead, but you need to learn to trust the people you lead.  

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments!



Bligh, M. (20117). Leadership and trust.

Green, C. (2012).  Why trust is the new core of leadership.

     Retrieved from


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