Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

3 actions to building a culture of trust

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Gaining and keeping the trust of those you lead is one of the top factors to your company’s ongoing success.

To work successfully as a team, the leader must create a culture where people can rely on the strengths and abilities of those they work with and believe in their leader’s direction and vision.


Building a culture of trust has a positive effect on the entire organization. The speed of work increases and the cost of doing business goes down. I first learned this formula when I read Stephen M. R. Covey’s book THE SPEED OF TRUST: The One Thing That Changes Everything. I also found a nice visual of the simple formula on Ryan’s blog. What this tells me is doing the work to build a culture of trust pays big dividends.

So how do you build a culture of trust? What are the keys to gaining trust and the speed that comes with it? Here are three actions for building this culture:

  1. Spend time with people. Listen to what they have to say. Have informal 1-on-1s regularly. Ask questions that encourage team members to talk about who they are and what they believe. Hold celebrations and reward them for the good work they’re doing.
  2. As a leader, be the first to trust others and build trust. Admit mistakes. Create an environment where people will take risks and own up to their actions.
  3. You can accomplish great things when your team works well together. Talk in terms of ‘our’: our vision, our values, our goals, our plans, our actions. Foster a culture where people see themselves as an intricate part of a larger vision.

Make it a priority to develop a culture of trust at your organization. Go out of your way to connect with people you lead and they will perform beyond your expectations. Job satisfaction will increase and productivity will surge.

Questions: How strong is the trust in your organization? How would a ‘culture of trust’ change your organization? Please leave a comment in the space below.

The Product Management Perspective: Trust is the most important characteristic a product manager can possess. To effectively work with development, sales and other teams in your organization you must gain their trust. Trust is key to understanding your customers and your market. Trust is a two-way street: you need to carry out your tasks in such a way that the team members will trust you. You also need to trust that the team members will do what they have committed to do.

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