Those Who Trust Their Leaders Follow Their Leaders: Part One

Teams that trust their leader perform better than those that don’t trust (Dirks & Ferrin, 2002). This shouldn’t come as a big surprise to someone who leads a team. People who don’t trust their leader are hesitant to follow and are less motivated to execute tasks than those who do have that trust. Although there is strong agreement among leaders that trust is important, there isn’t always clear direction on how one can build and maintain it.

Prior to investing in trust-building excursions, which can be costly and require employees to leave the office to complete (and which may not actually improve trust), it’s important to first understand the evidence about actions that can be taken to improve trust while at work. Namely, there are three primary pathways that science shows us can lead people trust their leader. Each one, independently, contributes to whether or not teams trust their leaders.  When all three are maximized, one increases the chance that his or her team will achieve its potential.

Show you care.  Leaders who are able to demonstrate genuine concern for their employees’ well-being are ultimately more trusted than leaders who don’t seem to care. Trust scholars refer to this as showing one has benevolent intentions toward others. By caring, this means that actions are taken to illustrate that the leader looks at their followers as more than just employees, but there is a genuine interest in their growth, well-being and satisfaction at their assigned tasks. Followers who believe their leader cares are more willing to go that extra mile to help the team succeed.

The final two pathways to lead people to trust are revealed in Part 2!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.



Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.