Trust Is the Foundation of Leadership

Law 6, The Law of Solid Ground in John C. Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership states that trust is the foundation of leadership. Trust is a two-way street and leaders must recognise that it is impossible to influence those who follow if that trust is continually being broken. If you say you will deliver then do exactly that – deliver!

Yes, we all make mistakes, nobody is infallible. The key, having made a mistake, is to own up and apologise. In doing so, it is unlikely that you will lose their trust. Of course, repeated mistakes will significantly weaken your position!

Maxwell’s opinion is that a leader’s character communicates many things:

  1. Character Communicates Consistency – leaders without inner strength can’t be counted on day after day because their ability to perform changes constantly.
  2. Character Communicates Potential – weak character is limiting. Who do you think has the greater potential to achieve great dreams: someone who is honest, disciplined, and hardworking or someone who is deceitful, impulsive and lazy?
  3. Character Communicates Respect – When you don’t have character within, you can’t earn respect without. How do leaders earn respect? By making sound decisions, by admitting their mistakes, and by putting what’s best for their followers and the organization ahead of their personal agendas.

In Maxwell’s words:

“No leader can break trust with his people and expect to keep influencing them. Trust is the foundation of leadership. Violate the Law of Solid Ground, and you diminish your influence as a leader.”

Are you on solid ground as a leader?

This is the 6th article in a series of 21. Previous articles can be found here:

  1. The Law of the Lid: How effective are you as a leader?
  2. The Law of Influence: The True Measure of Leadership
  3. The Law of Process: Leadership is a Journey of Continuous Improvement
  4. The Law of Navigation: Anyone can Steer the Ship…
  5. The Law of Addition: Adding Value by Serving Others

About Peter Borner

Peter is an entrepreneur and successful business leader. Currently leading a consultancy firm specialising in technical diligence for M&A and advising global firms on IT consolidation and migration to consumption based costing through the use of Cloud Technologies.

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@RandyConley @PeterBorner Absolutely! Also consider recognizing, valuing, and listening to people to begin building a performance culture


@mikehenrysr @PeterBorner Thanks for bringing these great articles on leadership Mike, very insightful!


@RandyConley @PeterBorner trust is so important in all facets of life & business & is fundamental to any successful change initiative


That's right! RT @center_for_ai: trust is so important in all facets of life & business & is fundamental to any successful change initiative


  1. Peter Borner says:

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