The very first job of a leader is to inspire trust. Trust is the single most essential element to our ability to deliver extraordinary results in an enduring way.
Trust leads to high-performance because it enables an organization to work as it should; it’s the first defense against dysfunction and the first step towards delivering better outcomes.
As we work to continuously improve our leadership, we are inspired by the thought leadership of others who also revere building trust as a critical mission. So we’ve compiled a collection of quotes about trust and leadership that can help us on our leadership journey. These insights celebrate the importance of trust itself, as well as many of the practices that leaders can use to build it — such as mastering their craft, leading by example, cultivating competence, connecting with their purpose, authentically embodying a clear code, valuing people, leading with integrity, empowering people, listening exquisitely, and championing an abundant approach that is both tough-minded on standards and tender-hearted with people. Enjoy!
1. “Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.” – SETH GODIN
2. “For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.” – BO BENNETT
3. “A man who trusts nobody is apt to be the kind of man nobody trusts.” – HAROLD MACMILLAN
4. “I believe fundamental honesty is the keystone of business.” – HARVEY FIRESTONE
5. “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” – STEPHEN R. COVEY
6. “By the standards of the rest of the world, we overtrust. So far it has worked very well for us.” – CHARLIE MUNGER
7. “Trust starts with trustworthy leadership. It must be built into the corporate culture.” – BARBARA BROOKS KIMMEL
8. “The ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust is the key professional and personal competency of our time.” – STEPHEN M.R. COVEY
9. “Your words and deeds must match if you expect employees to trust in your leadership.” – KEVIN KRUSE
10. “You have to create a culture where everybody has an opportunity to be recognized.” – JOHN MACKEY
11.”The best thing you can do to help others take responsibility is to authentically practice the behaviors that you want others to practice.” – DR. MICHELLE REINA
12. “Do the right thing. Always.” – TED COINÉ
13. “I wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.” – INDRA NOOYI
14. “Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerability. Be transparent with your team, even when the truth may be unpopular or inconvenient.” – BILL GEORGE
15. “It takes a great man to be a good listener.” – CALVIN COOLIDGE
16. “The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.” – MOTHER TERESA
17. “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” – OSCAR WILDE
18. “When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” – HOWARD SCHULTZ
19. “Conviction, commitment, credibility: the three pillars of morally courageous leadership.” – GENERAL JOHN MICHEL
20. “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” – NAPOLEON HILL
21. “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people.” – BARBARA BUSH
22. “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – THEODORE ROOSEVELT
23. “It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” – ELEANOR ROOSEVELT
24. “Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet – thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing – consistently.” – LANCE SECRETAN
25. “He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted.” – LAO TZU
26. “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” – BRYANT MCGILL
27. “The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him.” – HENRY L. STIMSON
28. “Be sure you put your feet in the right place. Then stand firm.” – ABRAHAM LINCOLN
29. “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – OPRAH WINFREY
30. “Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.” – WARREN BENNIS
31. “Success is more permanent when you achieve it without destroying your principles.” – WALTER CRONKITE
32. “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” – GEORGE MACDONALD
33. “Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.” – MARIAN ANDERSON
34. “It is true that integrity alone won’t make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one.” – ZIG ZIGLAR
35. “Vulnerability is not weakness.” – BRENÉ BROWN
36. “The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity.” – DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
37. “The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” – GENERAL COLIN POWELL
38. “Earn your leadership every day.” – MICHAEL JORDAN
39. “Great leaders check their ego at the door and empower others to excel” – DEBORAH GILLIS
40. “Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean.” – MIGUEL ÃNGEL RUIZ
41. “Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention.” – JIM ROHN
42. “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” – BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
43. “Contrary to what most people believe, trust is not some soft, illusive quality that you either have or you don’t; rather, trust is a pragmatic, tangible, actionable asset that you can create.” – STEPHEN M.R. COVEY
44. “Authenticity and knowing who you are is fundamental to being an effective and long-standing leader.” – ANN FUDGE
45. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – GANDHI
46. “Always tell the truth or the truth will tell on you.” – FRANK SONNENBERG
47. “The most important thing about leadership is your character and the values that guide your life.” – BRENDA BARNES
48. “Business is about people, and your reputation is built on how you treat people.” – BRUCE RAUNER
49. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – DALAI LAMA
50. “The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.” – ALBERT EINSTEIN
51. “Be prepared and be honest.” – JOHN WOODEN
52. “Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best in people.” – STEPHEN R. COVEY
Did we leave out any of your favorite quotes on trust and leadership? What quotes would you add to this list?
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(Photo Credit: Terry Johnston via Flickr Creative Commons under this license).