How Do Great Leaders Build Trust, Honesty and Respect?

How Do Great Leaders Build Trust, Honesty and Respect? | Leadership Dynamics

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.

square creatives

A FREE Guide by
Peter Cox

Recent Blogs

Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Just Launched

How to Be An Effective Mentor

Online Program

One on One Mentoring will be a game changer for your business.