How leaders build trust in 2024 - Dignify
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How leaders build trust in 2024

Wednesday, April 3, 2024 - Joe Kiedinger

Trust is one of the most important tools we have as leaders. Think about leaders in your own past. Were you motivated to work hard and push above and beyond for a boss you didn’t trust? My guess is no. To build a healthy, successful team, you need more than direction, cohesion, and focus. You need to develop strong relationships based on trust first. So, where to start?

Here are the four areas you should focus on to build trust with your team members:


Respect is, without a doubt, the most important aspect to building trust with somebody, especially as a leader of a team. Without someone’s respect, you won’t have their trust, even if you follow everything else on this list. Building an environment of mutual respect between yourself and your team members is key.

Respect is something that’s earned over time. It’s not given out easily. Most people don’t respect people they don’t know well, and that’s natural. With this in mind, as a leader, you need to take steps to build respect among your team members. It is as easy as treating people the way that they want to be treated.

To do that, you need to understand someone’s dignity. Understanding a person’s dignity allows you to know what honor and respect mean to them, and exactly how they want to be treated. Each person has their own unique dignity, so you can’t apply the same exact approach to everybody. This can be difficult without proper systems and technologies in place, but with Dignify, understanding and remembering someone’s dignity becomes straightforward and clear.

With Dignify, you, as a leader, are empowered to know exactly what you can do to treat your employees with respect, and in return, gain theirs.


Let’s start this one off with a question – how can you trust somebody who lies or hides things from you? The answer is what we’re all thinking – you can’t. Without honesty and transparency, there is no trust, and it shows in the results. A staggering 46% of employees said that they have sought new job opportunities due to a lack of transparent communication from their leaders.

Your team members want to know what’s going on. They want honest feedback to know if they’re doing well, or if there’s something they can do to improve. They want to know the overall state of their organization, their department, and their role within it. Be generous with the information you pass on to your team.

Transparency is one of the best ways that you can build trust with your employees, but you do need to handle it carefully. You don’t want to come off as if you’re complaining, doubting, and panicking. Some thoughts are best kept to yourself – just use your best judgment in determining what should be shared and what should not.


In order for people to trust you, you need to be willing to be vulnerable. As a simple rule, people don’t trust people who they don’t know. If that’s the case – why would they trust you as their leader if you don’t allow them to know you? Here’s the thing – in most cases, people aren’t going to chase you around to get you to open up, explain yourself, or understand you better. It’s something that you will have to take the initiative on.

Now, vulnerability doesn’t mean that you have to overshare or let people in on your deepest secrets. Your co-workers and teammates do not need to know everything about you, and it’s not something that anyone would expect of you. Here are some examples of what would be beneficial for them to know:

  • A general understanding of your background and character
  • How you prefer to interact and why
  • What motivates you
  • What you are good at and what you can improve at
  • How they can help you improve

Just sharing these elements with your team would help them understand you not just as their leader, but as a person. When they know who you are as a person and can trust that you will act consistently with what you have told them, they will understand how to interact with you much better. Also, they will be more open to sharing things about themselves that would help you support and uplift them both personally and professionally.

In her book, Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution, Brené Brown says, “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”


This one is quite simple – make people feel like they belong. Give people credit not just for what they do, but because of who they are. Your team members are people – not just cogs in a machine. Every person has their own unique dignity and background that is worthy and deserving of recognition and respect, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Ensure that you and everyone on your team treats each other equitably, with empathy, and with understanding.

Trust is not something that’s built in a day. You need to be consistent and dedicated in your efforts to see results. Building trust is an irreplaceable part of becoming a great leader. You can’t do it just on abilities, talents, and know-how. You have to learn to connect with your team and allow them to trust you so that you can support them to the best of your abilities.


ACTION PLAN: Building trust is a long-term process. Start by making a true commitment to the process and identify a few things you can do this week to make progress. Really, set aside three minutes and decide right now. It’s worth your time.

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