Servant Leadership Workplace-Build Keep Trust

5 Ways Servant-Leaders Build and Keep Trust at Work

Building a trusting team is a priority of servant-leaders in the workplace.*


Lots of reasons.

For one,  in competitive environments – which most environments are today – organizations with high trust outperform their peers. Indeed:

 In the workplace, trust makes things run at higher speed and lower cost.

After our three recent posts about trust, one reader asked to hear more about the “how” of trust.**

So, here are 5 ways servant-leaders can build and keep trust.

  1. Act with integrity. I know – Duh! – but it’s worth stopping to appreciate the full meaning of the word, “integrity.” In addition to meaning “honest,” the word “integrated” means “whole” or “undivided.”  The most trusted leaders – and the servant-leaders – are integrated people. Integrated leaders act the same outside the office as they do inside the office. They show the same level of respect to newly-hired staff as they show to the board of directors.
  1. Connect and engage. Connection builds trust. Trusted leaders connect with others on a personal level, get to know them and genuinely care about their wellbeing. Granted, in a large organization, it may be impossible for a senior executive to know everyone; but senior executives can commit to knowing someone at every level of the company. Trusted leaders value relationships over transactions.
  1. Keep promises. The most direct route to building trust, for any of us, is simply this: Do what you say you will do. That route requires us to double check our commitments before making them. But when a commitment is made, people know it will be done.***
  1. Own mistakes. Have you met a person who never made a mistake? I haven’t. Do you trust a person who will not admit mistake? I don’t. The leaders, executives and companies that are most trusted take responsibility for their mistakes and accept blame when warranted. ****
  1. Serve the greater good. Not surprisingly for those interested in servant leadership, research shows that employees attribute increased trust in a business to the fact that business enabled them to be a more productive member of society. The trusted leaders – the best servant-leaders – see and serve the greater good. They help those around them do the same. That builds trust.

What’s your best advice for building and keeping trust in the workplace? What would you add to my list? As always, we appreciate your views.


And don’t forget to download our latest ebook, Servant Leadership in the Workplace: A Brief Introduction. It’s free!


*Developing people, building a trusting team and achieving results are priorities of a servant-leader at work:  “Servant Leadership – 3 Workplace Priorities.”

** Three on trust in the workplace:

CYA Behavior – Symptom of Low Trust

Work in a World Where Lawyers Aren’t Necessary?

15 Great Quotes About Trust

*** On doing what you say you will do, enjoy this one: “Note to New Year’s Resolvers: DWYSYWD”

**** Enjoy this one, too: “5 Reasons Admitting Mistakes Might Show You Are a Servant-Leader”