The Trusted Leader

The most valuable asset to anyone serving in leadership, and to any organization, company, or institution, is that of trust.

Trust in Leadership on the Decline

In the 2015 edition Richard Edelman states in the introduction that, “we see an evaporation of trust across all institutions… For the first time, two-thirds of the 27 nations we survey fall into the “distruster” category.”

When People Distrust a Company:

  • 77% refuse to buy from it.
  • 72% criticize it to a friend/colleague.
  • 34% share negative experiences online.

The Value of Trust

When People TRUST a Company:

  • 91% chose to buy from them.
  • 76% recommend them to a friend.
  • 55% will pay a premium to use them.
  • 42% share positive experiences online.

When we really understand the benefits of trust, it changes our thinking about trust!

So when you consider what you should be investing in when it comes to your personal professional development, or the development of your leadership team, managers and supervisors – or in the operation of your company and the products or services you produce – it’s TRUST. Investment in the development and ever-increasing measures of trust in your leadership and in your company or organization, will reap the greatest amount of return – every time.

The Barriers to Trust

There are barriers to organizational trust. Edelman identifies four key factors in this area:

  1. Industry Sector (e.g. technology-based industries are the most trusted in the world).
  2. Country of Origin (e.g. businesses based in Sweden and Canada are trusted much more than those based in Brazil or Russia).
  3. Enterprise Type (e.g. in developed countries, family-owned businesses are trusted more than big business, and in developing countries it is the opposite).
  4. Leadership (e.g. academics and technical experts are trusted as spokesman at a far higher level than CEO’s).

These trust factors identified by Edelman are all potential barriers to trust. The greatest determent to establishing trust, however, is all about relationships.

Gaining The Trust Edge

David Horsager, in his Wall Street Journal Best-Seller, The Trust Edge makes the case that trust is not a soft skill. And he’s absolutely right.

The good news is that trust levels can be assessed and then the areas of weakness, which we all have as leaders, can be intentionally developed.

Horsager has identified 8 pillars that the greatest leaders of all time possess. Each of these pillars can and must be developed if we wish to be trusted as leaders.

  1. Clarity: Be clear and unambiguous.
  2. Compassion: Care beyond yourself.
  3. Character: Do what is right, not easy.
  4. Competency: Stay fresh and capable.
  5. Commitment: Stand through adversity.
  6. Connection: Ask questions and listen.
  7. Contribution: Deliver results.
  8. Consistency: Act consistently.

Check out for more about the 8 Pillars of Trust.


But… here is the BIG SECRET. What the research also shows is that the most trusted leaders of all time possess all 8 pillars. If your leadership lacks in any of those 8 areas so will your level of trust.

If you wish to be among the most trusted leaders in your industry, you need to intentionally pursue, develop, and model all 8 of these pillars.

Need Help Developing Trust?

If I can be of service to you in helping you or your organization in assessing your level of trust and/or to provide leadership training with your board, your leadership team, or your entire staff – please do not hesitate to contact me at

I hold a certification as a facilitator of The Trust Edge Experience by Horsager Leadership; that’s a full 2-day seminar currently being used by companies such as FedEx, Goodyear, Amazon, and many other Fortune 100 companies to both assess their trust levels and to develop trust in their leaders and in their brands. I can also provide everything from a Keynote address on the value and importance of trust, to specialized workshops, and even one-on-one consultations.

Every pillar of trust that we discussed today can be intentionally developed through research-based strategies and practices. I look forward to the opportunity of assisting you in that development if I can.

In the mean-time, I hope that this brief session together has at least inspired you to take some steps to becoming The Trusted Leader.


Click Here to download the summary transcript.

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