Trust and Leadership

Trust is the primary attribute associated with leadership, and trust that is broken can have an adverse effect on a group’s performance. People are unlikely to follow someone they think is dishonest, or someone they think will take advantage of them. Conversely, when followers trust a leader, they’re willing to be vulnerable to the leader’s actions.

What Is Trust?

three individuals putting their hands togetherWhat is trust? Trust is a positive expectation that another individual will not act opportunistically at another’s expense. Trust is dependent on history, based on relevant but limited samples of experience. Trust involves five key dimensions:

– Integrity: the honesty and integrity of the

– Competence: the knowledge and ability of the

– Consistency: the reliability of the

– Loyalty: the willingness of the individual to protect the interests of

– Openness: the individual’s willingness to be forthcoming with

In today’s world of business, there are plenty of reasons for trust to be deteriorating. Wells Fargo took advantage of sales teams and, with them, their own customers, and their predatory behavior was called onto the carpet in front of Congress. Volkswagen’s faked emissions testing cost their business customers and international relations. Facebook has been taken to task for lax security measures around users’ personal information, and the lack of checks and balances in their advertising policies may have influenced our country’s presidential election.

Whether trust is lost between a leader and a follower, or a customer and a company, it costs the organization money.


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Organizational Behavior by Icfai Business School is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.