Trusting you makes them happy

The number one reason employees are
happy is they trust their leaders
(Lamb & McKee).


Surprisingly, less than half of employees have trust and confidence in their senior managers (Baldoni, Lead Your Boss).

Six Creative Ways to Build Trust

  1. Declare what you want rather than what you don’t want. Saying what you don’t want stops things. Saying what you do want instills confidence to starts things.
  2. Trust is based not only on openness but on keeping a confidence. What you don’t say builds trust.
  3. Honesty plus ability builds trust. An honest electrician isn’t competent to renovate a master bathroom. He may be perfectly honest. However, don’t trust him with your toilet.
  4. Explain organizational performance. For example, don’t hide financial successes in order to keep people hungry.
  5. It’s hard trusting the captain when the ship’s adrift. Stand on the bow with telescope in hand and bravely call out the course. Do your people know where you are going?
  6. Let people know how they fit in and what their work means. Say something like, “When you do “X” it makes a difference.”  Explain the positive difference others make.

Leader as Trust Builder

Employee satisfaction is a complex mix of many factors. Research demonstrates the number one satisfaction-factor is they trust their leaders. Ask yourself the hard question, “Are my employees satisfied?” Perhaps the harder question is, “What am I intentionally doing to build trust?”


(The central premise of this post comes from research done by Lawrence Lamb and Kathy McKee (2005), Applied Public Relations: Cases in Stakeholder Management)

Additional reading, “How Investing in Intangibles — Like Employee Satisfaction — Translates into Financial Returns.”


How can leaders build trust?

What other factors lead to employee satisfaction?