If you’re a leader in your organization, do you know if your employees fully trust you?

There’s actually a good chance that they don’t. This week Gallup released disturbing research on leadership, which revealed that only 21% of US employees strongly agree that they trust the leadership of their organization.

These findings have far-reaching implications, as research on the topic indicates that 19% of all workers surveyed admitted that they were actively disengaged at work. These workers are your “quiet quitters” who are flying under the radar and doing the bare minimum.

Add the level of complexity and the pace of change in the business world today, and the task of leadership can feel daunting. As leaders, it’s discouraging to work so hard and then have to struggle with these issues.

Yet, there is hope. Building trust is something we can work on, and when we do, our employees become more engaged and more productive. If you work on these three key competencies, you will increase your confidence and earn the trust of your employees and colleagues.

  1. Trusted Leaders Communicate Clearly and Authentically 

When we can clearly articulate our vision and the direction of the organization, our people start to visualize a roadmap for where and how to focus their energy. This builds trust and engagement.

During the pandemic, leaders became more vulnerable – whether we planned on it or not. We had to communicate through video with our messy kitchen behind us, kids running across the screen, and our dogs barking in the background. We had to be honest about what we didn’t know. It turns out that those of us who held on to that vulnerability and authenticity are doing better at building and maintaining trust with others.


  1. Trusted Leaders Inspire Confidence in the Future

It’s not just leaders who are struggling with the complexity of today’s environment. Most workers are also feeling it. They see layoffs and wonder if they’re next. They are weary from trying to predict what their partners and customers need. They wonder if they’ll have the skills to meet the demands of their roles.

As you lead, transparency will be your best friend to inspire trust. While your employees don’t need all the details, they need a vision of the preferred future and a broad sense of the major initiatives of your organization. They also need to see how they fit into that big picture. Along the way, be sure to celebrate milestones and successes to show everyone that the plan is working and you’re making headway toward the goals.


  1. Trusted Leaders Support Change

We’ve all heard the saying, “The only thing that’s constant is change,” and it’s more true today than ever. The ability to navigate, normalize, and thrive through change – both for yourself and others – is an essential leadership competency and key to building trust. Leaders and managers must become catalysts and ambassadors for change to stick.

These are some of the practical things you can do to demonstrate your commitment to change and building trust:

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Be honest and open about the change. Be sure people know the reasons for the change and keep them updated along the way. When you think you’ve communicated enough, communicate some more.
  • Acknowledge that change is hard and that it’s personal. While as leaders we are trained to think about the good of the organization, what your employees want to know is how it will impact them. Be willing to have conversations like, “Here’s what happens. And here’s how it will impact our team and each of you.”
  • Know that there will be resistance to change and be prepared to handle this at the individual level and with compassion and empathy. Ask questions, actively listen, and use joint problem-solving. Even better, see if there is any part of the change they are excited about and ask them to lead a project related to it.


Trust is something you can work on – and rebuild. It does take a concerted effort. When you communicate clearly and authentically, inspire confidence in the future, and support your people during times of change, you really can build the trust necessary to reach higher levels of productivity and performance.

This is just a small part of the relevant and timely content we share in AchieveUnite’s Leadership Programs. 100% of our graduates say that they have gained increased confidence in their leadership abilities. We’re here to support you in building trust and increasing all your leadership competencies in a safe and fun group learning environment. Learn more!