Trust – A Critical Factor to Success

By Greg Enos

Trust is a critical part of life that is frequently taken for granted. It is manifested in many ways, requires the practice of humility and cannot be taken for granted without serious consequences.

We may not be able to explain how we trust others or be conscious of how critical it is to our daily success.

Trust requires integrity, authenticity and candor. It is closely connected to teamwork.

“Football is the greatest game that has ever been invented,” says Tom Coughlin, who was head coach of the New York Giants when they won two Super Bowls. “I needed to demonstrate that I cared about them. Trust is a critical factor.”

Leaders need to ensure that “everything they do is in the best interests of the team. Respect is important; humility is critical,” explained the coach(

It takes the commitment of two or more individuals for there to be effective trust.

It is one of the most critical advantages that successful leaders can have.

Coughlin used a leadership council of respected representatives to support communication with all team members. Trust was built with a shared agenda.

“Remember that character, as demonstrated by consistency, is very important to establishing and maintaining trust,” explains Coughlin.

Trust is built over a period of time and is reinforced consistently by actions of integrity and authenticity. Sincerity establishes a reservoir of dignity that can support leaders when things go wrong or they misspeak.

Robert T. Whipple(, author of Leading With Trust is Like Sailing Downwind, is a renowned leadership expert and speaker who identifies trust as the critical factor in successful leadership.

He suggests that building trust with team members is like contributing to a bank account, where leaders’ compassion, sacrifice, and sharing set the tone of the relationship. Deposits are sincere efforts to treat everybody with dignity.

Can broken trust be repaired?

Experts express a wide range of opinions.

Dr. Kittie W. Watson, an internationally recognized listening expert, author, and business consultant, believes that it is possible but very difficult.

Once trust is broken, others will look for ways to support and/or reinforce their perceptions. Recovery takes time and individuals must work to rebuild the relationship by following through on their promises, keeping confidences and demonstrating new behaviors,” explains Watson, who works with executives and their teams.

It takes longer the second time and requires that you need to follow through on your promises,” explains Watson(, who works with executives and their teams. “Keeping confidences is important.”

Executive coach Jamie Millard( points out that “both parties need to be willing to try” and rebuild the trust. Unfortunately, sometimes reestablishing a trusting relationship is virtually impossible.

Jon Gordon’s book Soup ( captures the importance of trust for team. It says, “Trust generates commitment, commitment fosters teamwork, and teamwork delivers results. Know your team culture.” It all fits together.

Trust is an incredibly value asset to leaders who are willing to create an environment of integrity, respect, humility, authenticity, and shared values. It requires continued investment, open communications, and sincere concern for team members.


Greg Enos is Managing Principal of Time Communications Associates, LLC in Conway, South Carolina. He has helped thousands of professionals increase their personal productivity and leadership skills. He can be reached at