Trust is the key for building successful employee relationships; it is also the driving factor for success in personal relationships. The absence of trust is a one-way ticket to failure. People in general, as well as employees and customers, are more suspicious than ever about claims organizations make. Companies must create trust to gain and maintain a competitive advantage, build their brand, and become the provider of choice. As a leader you must do the same to help your firm become the employer of choice.

You can make bold proclamations and statements regarding your firm’s values, history, people, and culture, but in the midst of all that, how do you differentiate yourself in a genuine, credible and trustworthy manner? It starts by clearly defining what you stand for and promise to deliver as a leader. Trust is created when you tell your employees and colleagues what they can and should expect when dealing with you. Things such as core values, guiding principles, your internal and external branding messages all serve to communicate and influence the actions and behaviours that lead to a consistent employee experience that builds and sustains trust.

If you are serious about building a trust-based environment, you must make it personal. Modeling your firm’s values is the starting point. From there trust is earned based on your actions and behaviours not on words or empty promises. This truth is captured in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say”. Trustworthy leadership begins with your actions and behaviours reinforcing your words and claims.