Leadership—is it as complex as we make it?

What if successful leadership is not as complicated as others want you to believe.

Seriously, search ‘leadership’ on Amazon and you’ll find a ton of books about leading others. The titles alone imply that to be a successful leader, you have to master the proper steps or follow 21 irrefutable laws to maximize your potential according to some ancient wisdom.

But what if successful leadership isn’t really that complicated?

What if there is one fundamental thing that determines whether people follow you? No, it’s not a title, a position of power, or an endorsement that you are in charge.

What if one aspect of leadership is non-negotiable; a must-have characteristic that needs to be in place in order for others to pledge their loyalty and commitment?

What if one single element defines the ‘experience’ people have with you as a leader?

Can it really be as simple as one thing?


That one thing is TRUST.

Trust is the foundation of any strong, successful, and mutually beneficial relationship.

Without trust, any relationship is doomed.

In business, an absence of trust stifles creativity, grinds innovation to a halt, and leaves staff members emotionally checked out.

With trust, anything becomes possible:

  • Energy, productivity, and progress are accelerated.
  • Personal commitment, engagement, and loyalty become the norm.

While high-trust won’t rescue a poor strategy, low-trust will certainly derail one.

As with any relationship, trust doesn’t happen by accident. Trust is established between two people, individual to individual, over time. One person’s view of trust may differ from another’s, so its critically important to establish a shared understanding of trust.

How can we build trust, and how can we avoid losing it?

There is ONE excellent way for a leader to build trust and six quick ways to destroy it. First let’s consider how leaders lose trust.

Trust is lost when leaders:

  • Inconsistently and inappropriately act and speak
  • Withhold important information
  • Focus on personal vs. shared gain
  • Lie or tell half-truths
  • Lack the courage to stand up for what they believe in
  • Don’t do what they say they’re going to do

All right, that’s the negative. What about the positive?

What is the ONE simple way to build trust with employees, co-workers, partners, and your boss?

I answer this question on a recently released episode of the Getting Results podcast.

It’s live right now. The episode is called: What if Leadership isn’t that complicated?

Check it out on your favorite podcast platform:

If you do this ONE simple thing, you will build trust—and fast!  

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