The Essential Guide to Shaping a Trustworthy Leadership Reputation

The Essential Guide to Shaping a Trustworthy Leadership Reputation
CoachBase July 18, 2023

Trust in leadership has become a scarce and invaluable commodity. Leaders who aspire to make a lasting impact and wield influence must proactively shape a positive reputation based on trustworthiness. 

This blog emphasizes the significance of trust in corporate leadership coaching and offers four research-based practices that leaders can master to earn and retain the trust of others.


The Rising Bar for Trustworthiness

As the global experience of honesty and trust continues to decline, people's expectations and definitions of trustworthiness have expanded. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in government, NGOs, and media continues to erode, while businesses are struggling to maintain their standing as the sole institution perceived as competent and ethical. 

In light of these trends, leaders must recognize the heightened importance of trust in their interactions with colleagues, employees, and stakeholders.


Building Trust: Beyond Reliability and Integrity

Research conducted over 15 years, covering more than 3,200 leaders, underscores that reliability and integrity alone are not sufficient to establish a trustworthy reputation. These qualities serve as fundamental prerequisites, but leaders must go beyond them to earn consistent trust. By adopting the following four practices, mapped by our digital coaching platform - CoachBase, leaders can increase their likelihood of earning and maintaining trust 16 times more.

Consistency in words and actions

Consistency between words and actions forms the bedrock of trust. Leaders should clearly articulate their values and ensure that their behaviors align with those values.

  • With the help of corporate leadership coaching, leaders can explicitly communicate their values, allowing others to understand the guiding principles that shape their decision-making and behavior. It is crucial to define the ways in which these values manifest in day-to-day actions.
  • Identifying any gaps between what leaders say and what they do is essential. None of us is perfectly consistent, and leaders must acknowledge instances where their actions have unintentionally contradicted their stated values. 
  • When discrepancies arise, leaders should take responsibility, apologize when necessary, and demonstrate humility, emphasizing the impact of their actions on others. Leadership coaching helps bridge the gap between discrepancies and facilitates growth by;
  1. Raising Self-awareness, allows leaders to reflect on the discrepancies between their words and actions. Through guided questioning and introspection, leaders gain insights into their beliefs, values, and blind spots.
  2. Discovering the required change to align their behavior with their stated values. By exploring patterns, triggers, and external factors, leaders gain clarity on the steps required to rectify the situation and build trust.
  3. Implementing action by developing plans, setting goals, and identifying potential obstacles. Through support and accountability, coaching ensures leaders stay committed to making necessary changes and rebuilding trust.

Dignity in action

In an economy increasingly driven by intellectual capital and creativity, treating individuals and their contributions with dignity is paramount for building trust.

  • Leaders can foster trust by creating opportunities for others to shine. This involves actively seeking ways to showcase the talents and achievements of colleagues who may not have high visibility within the organization. 
  • Encouraging the presentation of critical projects to wider audiences or connecting individuals with mentors and influencers can bolster trust by demonstrating a genuine appreciation for the contributions of others.
  • Equally important is being a safe place for failure. Mistakes are inevitable, and leaders must create an environment where individuals feel supported and respected even when they falter. 
  • Balancing accountability with compassion and ensuring that individuals' self-respect remains intact in the face of setbacks builds trust and encourages growth.

Balance disclosure and confidentiality

Transparency is a cornerstone of trust, but leaders must exercise discretion and discern when ‘to be open and vulnerable’ and when ‘to protect confidence’. That’s exactly what our corporate leadership coaching teaches you.

  • To strike the right balance, leaders should establish and maintain information boundaries. By clearly defining what information they are comfortable sharing about themselves and with whom, leaders can cultivate transparency while respecting personal and professional boundaries.
  • Sharing appropriate details about personal lives, hobbies, and challenges can create connections and foster trust. 
  • Simultaneously, sharing work-related information generously without using it as a source of power empowers others and positions leaders as trusted sources of valuable data.
  • Leaders can also engender trust by actively inviting dissent and feedback. Rituals or mechanisms that provide avenues for anonymous sharing of ideas, feedback, and constructive criticism foster a culture of open communication. 
  • Leaders who graciously accept and integrate diverse perspectives demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow, further strengthening the individual’s trust within the organization.

Unifying bridges

In a world characterized by fragmentation and divisiveness, leaders who foster collaboration and break down silos become beacons of trust and contributors to cohesive work environments.

  • Our professional coaching platform - CoachBase believes turning rivals into accomplices is a powerful way to build trust across departments and teams. Identifying opportunities for collaboration and working together toward common goals creates alliances and breaks down barriers. 
  • By encouraging collective problem-solving and reinforcing a shared purpose, leaders build trust and engender a sense of camaraderie among individuals who might otherwise remain isolated in their respective domains.
  • Moreover, leaders can nurture trust by actively displaying a fascination with others. Showing genuine interest in the lives, hobbies, and experiences of colleagues fosters a sense of belonging and deepens connections. Actively listening, remembering important details shared by others, and following up on their personal milestones or challenges demonstrate respect and establish a culture of trust and mutual appreciation.


Start Building Your Leadership Reputation Today!

Trustworthiness is the most valuable currency in leadership today. Building and maintaining trust requires leaders to go beyond mere reliability and integrity. By implementing the four practices outlined above by CoachBase’s best online coaches directory, leaders can shape their reputations positively and establish themselves as trustworthy figures. Leaders who prioritize trustworthiness are more likely to enjoy a career of great influence and impact. 

Remember, the story others tell about their experience of you shapes your reputation, so strive to be the leader worthy of their trust.