How Do Great Leaders Build Trust, Honesty and Respect?

How Do Great Leaders Build Trust, Honesty and Respect?


Think about this for a minute, which people do you trust the most?

Do you trust the people that you “Like” their Facebook post of what they ate for breakfast, or do you trust those that you sit down with to genuinely discuss things, openly?

In the increasingly demanding pace that business life sets, we can often neglect this when it comes to leading our team.

To successfully build an organisation and lead it to new heights, you need to do it one on one. That means you need to spend time one on one with each key member of your team on a regular basis, so you know what makes them tick and what’s going on with them to have effective communication going both ways.

When deadlines creep in and demands pile up, it’s easy to convince yourself that a quick joke passing in the hallway and an email or two from you stating your thoughts on various issues will be more than enough to communicate with your team. And of course, if they can’t deal with it – then it’s their problem.

It’s understandable that leadership comes with pressure, but as the Leader, it’s your responsibility to grow your team, to get them to willingly follow you (because they trust and respect you) so you can accomplish the goals set for your team.


To do this, you need to be continuously communicating ‘effectively’ with them and vice versa.  You need to know:

  • Exactly what motivates them to get up in the morning,
  • What’s going on for them in their world and
  • You need to show them that ‘you care’ about developing their skills, abilities and setting goals for their progress.


You can’t do this via email or a quick pleasant exchange in the office kitchen.  This is best communicated one on one with a disciplined bi-monthly or monthly rhythm.

It’s extremely important you identify what the individual (you are leading) really wants and needs.  All humans are driven by wants and needs – it’s their motivation for getting out of bed each day. If their needs and wants are being met (within reason and in balance with the organisation, business or team) then you’ll create an extremely positive work environment.  The One on One process is very effective in discovering what these are. (If you want to read my previous article on the power of One on Ones, click here.)


Do you know what your team members want and what drives them?


Over the last 20 years, I’ve done more than 17,000 formal One on Ones around the world, and I’ve learned that it is a key strategy to earning trust so that people will follow you. Making time to show you genuinely care about each of your key people, leads to genuine trust and respect.  If you have this, you will lead powerfully. As Theodore Roosevelt once famously said:

 “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”


Why would anyone choose to follow you otherwise?


Finding the balance of being honest with the individual (about issues you’re dealing with when it comes to their performance) and empowering and building up the individual through positivity and encouragement is a golden opportunity to grow each individual you lead and a key ingredient in dynamics and effective leadership. When you also effectively combine this with discovering what drives them, as well as identifying a life goal for each individual (and help them to achieve it), then you’re really making a positive impact on the people you lead to help them reach their fullest potential. And this my friend, in turn, builds trust, honesty and respect back to you as the leader.


Have you given any thought to who you need to be honest with and what you need to be honest about when it comes to their performance?

What do you have to be honest about? 

What goals have you identified that combine effectively for both the organisation and each individual you’re leading?


Building trust, honesty and respect isn’t something you do once and then forget about – it’s a behaviour you need to focus on and build upon regularly.  Just because you have trust, honesty and respect today, doesn’t mean you’ll have trust, honesty and respect tomorrow, and you need these in your team to achieve anything great.  Keep your finger on the pulse and assume nothing. Ever.


Developing skills to conduct effective one on ones, and building trust, honesty and respect take time and practice – I’m definitely better at it than when I first started. Each time I do a one on one, I often learn how to do the next with that individual even better. Each time I do something to build trust with a team member, I often make a note of how I could improve next time.  Like life, leadership is a continual journey where those who adopt the attitude to learn something new at every given opportunity will always rise above.

Assume Nothing! Things Might Not Go to Plan.

Assume Nothing! Things Might Not Go to Plan.

Assume Nothing! Things Might Not Go to Plan.

If there’s one thing that’s certain in life, other than death and taxes, is that even the best laid plans might not go how you want them to!  You have to assume nothing!


Case in point on the weekend at one of the biggest pay-for-view games in Foxtel history – the West Tigers versus the Cronulla Sharks.


It was a do or die game for both teams to progress to the NRL Finals Series 2019, something the Tigers hadn’t achieved for 8 years, so Sunday was a huge deal.  It wasn’t a Grand Final though it felt like the past 10 months of sheer hard work, growth and planning were culminating in this match.


However, 30 minutes before the game was due to start, in the warm up session, our full back, Corey Thompson, strained his Achilles Tendon and was ruled out to play.




The Head Coach, Michael Maguire, all the Assistant Coaches and Trainers, and the team had to deal with chaos in the dressing rooms. High level leadership was displayed having to rearrange the team line up, with key players having to play out of position – a great deal of selflessness and team player spirit was displayed. Even 300+ gamer, Robbie Farrah, who’d broken his leg 4 weeks earlier, stepped onto the field.


The team were valiant in defeat against an experienced Cronulla Sharks team. There is no doubt the younger Wests Tigers team members grew with this very challenging experience in front of a sold out 20,000 Leichhardt Oval Crowd.

Would the result have been different if Corey Thompson hadn’t strained his Achilles in the warm up? We had momentum with the system and the game plan leading up to this huge game, but we’ll never know.


There are key lessons to be learnt from not achieving the result we wanted to achieve.


How the players respond to the disappointment of last Sunday is a choice.  Your past is not your future if you choose.


All our biggest growth moments in life occur, if we let them, when things don’t go to plan.



Are you assuming anything right now?


Are you dealing with things in your life that aren’t going as you expected?


Are you going to learn from them, or let them to take you off your path?



I’ve been in business since 1988 and have seen many, many things happen, that nothing much surprises me anymore.  I’ll write a book one day soon on what I’ve experienced, though one key lesson I’ve learnt is – assume nothing, learn from every situation and keep moving forward towards your goal, no matter what obstacles lie in your way.


And also, allow yourself to be led by someone who’s more experienced than you are.


My life changed when I allowed myself to be led by a mentor and he helped me through some of the toughest times in business and in life.  I would not be where I am today without Jim.


Don’t think you know everything (because you don’t) and can tough it out on your own.  Iron sharpens iron.  Get a mentor independent to your business if you don’t have one.


Who could you ask to lead you?


Are you learning from your setbacks right now?


Are you focussed on the future?


Assume nothing!  Things rarely go to plan. Just ensure you learn from them and move forward.


I trust my blog post helps you build your leadership strength so you can live a better life!




Here’s some other blogs you might like to read on this topic:

Allowing Yourself to be Led

How Mosquitos Nearly De-Railed a President