What Is The First Rung Of The Leadership Ladder?


Nobody wants to be an ineffective leader. Leadership is all about surrounding ourselves with the best people and helping them reach their goals and dreams. It is about empowering others to find their passion and explore ways to achieve their best results. Leading others is like climbing a ladder, step by step, and growing into the best we can be. But what does that first rung of the ascent upwards entail? What is the critical first step that precludes any further movement? Trust.


So why do we have such a complicated relationship with trust?  On one hand, we want to feel that our teams see us as trustworthy leaders.  On the other hand, we may not be feeling that we have honest and genuine relationships with the people we depend upon daily to achieve our goals. We know that it is impossible to do great things without a culture of trust. How do we build a forthright community or team? 

Look At Yourself:

 It is important that each of us asks how we may be contributing to our team’s culture. Do we think we are trustworthy? Do we act and behave in a way that people believe we have integrity?

We each need to take responsibility for our actions and be open with our communication and information. Hiding facts to protect ourselves is not modeling trust.  Even when we need to share unpopular choices, we need to take the first step and just present the truth. Hard to do sometimes? Sure. Yet when we display behavior that is sincere and honest, we are moving in the direction of trust.

 Look At The Team’s Values:

Teams are as trustworthy as their team members and their core values. When people interact with each other, are all the facts shared? Do some seem to have more inside information than others? Do team members listen attentively to one another? Is the communication flow open, direct and respectful or do there seem to be many misunderstandings? Each member of a team needs to embrace accountability, especially when mistakes are made. Our mistakes are how we grow and learn and must be viewed as essential to our success.

 Look At How To Create Trust Together:

Constructing a culture of trust requires teamwork and leadership. One way to begin the process is by getting to know one another better. Find out what is important to each other and what path each person took to arrive at this point. These stories and journeys can help develop stronger rapport and find common threads to build upon. When each individual feels they have contributed to a new culture, they feel empowered and valued. There is enough room for each team member to be a leader. Move up that leadership ladder together!

 Are you part of a culture of trust? What first steps did you take? How do you model being a trustworthy leader?





9 thoughts on “What Is The First Rung Of The Leadership Ladder?

  1. I’ve always found that transparency with others forges a bond of trust. When others see me for who I really am, without all the frills and trappings, we connect at a human level that is deeper and more sincere. Sometimes that’s not possible in a work environment, but I think open and honest conversations that “nose to nose” and “knee to knee” are really helpful.

  2. I agree LaRae that transparency is so essential to building trusting relationships, yet I have seen so much non-disclosure lately in organizations. Team members sometimes block or hide important information so that decisions are not made on all the facts. The result is anger and frustration and a lack of connectivity.
    I love your “nose to nose” and “knee to knee” conversations! Getting to learn about each other is such a great place to begin in developing trust and learning about each other’s real passions.

    Thanks for your great comments. I so appreciate them.

  3. Trust is so vital, and yet I find that there’s so much scar tissue that makes it hard for many to trust. It’s ironic that what we need the most feels so scary. I did a keynote today where I asked participants to write down, “what powerful leadership strength do you most frequently hide.” #1 Answer. Trust.

  4. Wow Karin, what a response to your question! Without trust, leaders will have such a difficult time cultivating a collaborative and high performing team. Yet I get why it can be scary, but totally worth fighting for.

    I am a believer that when someone has a challenging time creating a trusting environment, it may be that they are not displaying trustworthy behavior themselves. It does begin with each of us.

    Thanks for sharing. I bet you presented a great keynote!

  5. A sure way to create challenges for a culture of trust is to say “I’m only telling you this, and you can’t tell anyone else.” 97% of the time they leave the leaders office and tell their friend “I’m only telling you…” There is always shock when news spreads like wildfire but the only way we can control the rumor mill is to start with trust – not just for some.

    Trust is very much like the old chicken and the egg question. I think, as a leader, we can’t create a culture of trust without a willingness to go there first.

  6. Great point, Alli that in order for organizations to build a trusting workplace they must first value having an open and transparent culture. All too often, senior managers model secrecy and the “meetings after the meeting” are where the real decisions are made.

    I think leaders of all levels must model ways to develop trust and put it full center.

    Thanks Alli for all your great additions!

  7. Trust is the foundation of all leadership.relationships,friendships.

    Trust must be earned. must be cultivated, must be shared.

    I loved this post. Thanks so much for making me think.


  8. Yes, trust must be earned and maintained! I love the idea of making sure to share trust, once it is earned.

    I am humbled, Lolly, that I empower you. You are a gem and mentor to me. I appreciate our trusting relationship and friendship.


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