The 13 behaviors for cultivating trust

The following are behaviors of high-trust people and leaders across the world:


  • Talk straight.

  • Demonstrate respect.

  • Create transparency.

  • Right wrongs.

  • Show loyalty.

  • Deliver results.

  • Get better.

  • Confront reality.

  • Clarify expectations.

  • Practice accountability.

  • Listen first.

  • Keep commitments.

  • Extend trust.


These behaviors require a combination of character and competence. The first five flow initially from character, the second five from competence, and the last three from an almost equal mix of character and competence. This is important to recognize because, generally, the quickest way to decrease trust is to violate a behavior of character, while the quickest way to increase trust is to demonstrate a behavior of competence.

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