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How to Build Trust and Respect as a Leader

August 20, 2013

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Employee engagement is a hot topic right now, in partnership with performance and productivity.

The concern over these critical requirements for success is warranted because we have a cause that isn’t getting the attention it deserves – that of leadership engagement.

Leaders at all levels are largely missing in action, stymied by email, reporting, questionable meetings, red tape compliance and “spot fire-fighting”. They have lost the time needed to meaningfully engage with the people delivering the work.

A consequence of that is the loss of trust and respect.

I assert that Trust has 3 C’s – Consistency, Care and Competence.

PiramidLeaders must engage with their people consistently, showing both care and competence in order to build trust and then respect.


Howard Jackson adds some structure to the process of building trust and respect, as shown in his model here.


He says that Straight Talk – open and direct communication is the first building block of trust.
Then he says, Listening for Understanding the meaning behind what people are saying, not just waiting for your turn to speak, is another building block.


Making Commitments, expressing your intentions and keeping them, is a third foundation stone.
Being Reliable is the next level that builds Trust, then Respect will follow, subject to the quality and value of the relationship.


Too many leaders have lost or never had the communication and behavioural skills that build trust and respect, and we are paying the price for that in employee disengagement and lowered performance and productivity.


Fortunately, acquiring the skills is not rocket science and there are many paths to achieving those skills.

Whilst effective leadership behaviour that builds trust and respect cannot be learned in the classroom, here are three e-books that can help:

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email: dds@metattude.com
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