What Is The Foundation Of Leadership?

Trust is the only thing you need if you want to make any changes

The more you improve your effectiveness as a leader, the better leader you will become, and eventually you will be known as a highly effective leader. However, in order for you to improve your effectiveness you need to get the foundation of leadership correct – Trust.

If you increase the level of trust you have with your team, then you will also increase your influence. The more influence you have, the better the team will become.

Insecure leaders don’t use influence with their teams, they use their position and authority. When they do this they lose trust with their team. To be able to influence a person, you must build trust with that person first.


If the insecure leaders focussed on building trust rather than their position and authority, then they would become a lot more secure. They would also be on the path to becoming a highly effective leader.

1. Building Relationships

If you want to achieve amazing results with your team, then you must deliberately build relationships with each team member. Then you must look to build trust with the whole team, as a team.

If you don’t have trust with every team member then you won’t have any influence. Trust will set you on the path to becoming a highly effective leader for your team. Believe me, when you have trust the team can achieve amazing things.

What is it exactly that you want your team to do? Do you want them to follow you because they have to, and do only what is expected to get the job done? Or, do you want them to follow you because they want to, and go the extra mile to achieve amazing things?

When you start to build trust with each team member, it is important that you are very clear of your intentions for each person at the very beginning. In situations when you don’t know a person, and they come near you, we subconsciously throw our guard up.

We do this because we don’t know what their intentions are. Is this person trying to help me? Is this person trying to harm me? This all happens very fast, so almost straight away we know whether to trust them or to just ignore them completely.

However, when you are the boss, it is more than just a conversation, it is a job and a living at stake. So, if you want the person to trust you and follow you, they need to fully understand what your intentions are.

2. Declaring Your Intentions

The team member’s first thoughts about you will be: “Does this person want to help me? Does this person want to use and manipulate me? Does this person want to motivate me? As you are their leader, you will hopefully want to motivate and inspire your team.

On some occasions when someone just wants to help you, it’s because they want something from you. They are being selfish, and just thinking of themselves. However, if they want to motivate you then they are thinking of you, which is exactly what leadership is.

The team member will be able to sense right away if you want to motivate or help them, because they will be able to feel it.

If your team member feels that you want to lead them, and motivate them for their benefit and not yours, then they will start to trust you. When that happens your influence with them will increase. If your team member feels that you are looking after your own interests, and not theirs, then they will not trust you at all.

When that happens you will have no influence. I always recommend to people that if you don’t trust your boss, then you should leave and move on. But, most people won’t because it is just easier to stay where they are and plod along. They will remain unhappy, hate their boss, and hate their job.

But, the likes of you and me who want to work on ourselves and develop, we will move on and search for something better. Managers who want to develop themselves will not stand by and be manipulated by their own insecure leaders.

That is why these insecure leaders usually lose their best people, because they can’t lead them well. Those who stay with the insecure leaders are only interested in one thing, being paid.

When they are only interested in pay, they will only do just enough to ensure that they are paid. If they do this every day, then they will become more, and more frustrated.

3. Being A Servant Leader

In an earlier article “How To Serve Others”, we discussed whether your boss is servant leader or is he/she looking to be served. If your boss is a servant leader, and wants to serve you, do you feel manipulated or motivated by him? You will feel motivated.

You will feel that your leader wants the best for you, and has your interests at heart. So, when you feel this, you are going to perform for your leader and your team a lot better.

However, if your boss is looking to be served by you, is only looking out for themselves, do you feel manipulated or motivated by him? You will feel manipulated and so will the rest of the team.

Can you see how what I am sharing in this article is designed to deliberately help you learn how to build trust with your team and others? Can you understand the different aspects of what it takes to become a highly effective and servant leader?

I hope you can. I want you to TAKE ACTION on what you are learning in this and my other articles. So that you eventually become the highly effective leader who knows how to build relationships. The highly effective leader who knows how to build trust. The highly effective leader who knows how to lead your team to success.

4. Taking Action

I want you to take action, so that the other highly effective leaders within your organisation see you as one of them. Once you can do all of this, you will become a star. It will be very easy for you to become noticed. That is when your team’s performance will go from strength to strength.

What I do when I have start working with a new team or team member, I am very open from the beginning. I do this so I can build trust with them. I don’t wait on it. So, I talk about my background and where I’ve been, but I also talk to them about my weaknesses.

I show them that I am vulnerable. I will then let them know that I want to work on my weaknesses and that I am going to try my best to improve. I do this for the good of the team and for myself. Have you ever had a conversation like that with your boss?

I find that talking to team members about my weaknesses brings me down to their level. I am no longer the boss, I am just Tom. However, you can only do this if you are a humble and confident leader (as discussed earlier).

If you are too proud and arrogant, then you will find that having these conversations is very difficult. You will come across to your team member as fake.


Most managers think that if they expose their weaknesses to their team, then the team can use them against them. That is not true if you do it the right way. If you explain that you are willing to work on your weaknesses, then you have dropped your guard, and so will they. This is when trust starts to build between you both.

What are your boss’s weaknesses? Has he/she shared them with you? Even if they haven’t, I am very certain that you know what they are, because they will be obvious. If they haven’t told you, that means they don’t think they have any weaknesses. That causes distrust.

Always share your weaknesses with your team, and work on them. That is the best way to build trust.

Leaders have to be strong. But strength can be seen positively and negatively. To be seen positively, you need trust. To be seen negatively, you have no trust.

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

18 thoughts on “What Is The Foundation Of Leadership?

  1. There is sometimes a thin line between a leader who comes across as being arrogant and pushy and one who is truly authorative – you do need to sprinkle a bit of a “Human Touch” on your overall personality, since this is what will take your leadership to the next level, and make people trust you for real.

    1. Hi Simon,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article helpful.

      What you are discussing is humility which is a huge leadership principle that we ALL must have. Humility is the difference between a confident and arrogant leader. It’s great that you talk about this and recognise this.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


    1. Hi Roger,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found the article valuable.

      It is my pleasure. All the best,


  2. Hi Tom!
    Thank you for this great article, as always constructive and interesting! Did you mean the good leader should talk about his/her weaknesses infront of all team or individually? I know you meant the good boss must be well prepared for this and being professionally far ahead to feel confident, if someone will use this weaknesses against him/her. But I agree with you that trust and not selfishness must prevail in a good team.
    All the best,

    1. Hi Alex,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so happy that you found the article constructive and interesting.

      A highly effective leader should talk about their weaknesses in front of their people as a team and as individuals, so both.

      You are right, trust and unselfishness must prevail in a good and eventually a great team.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  3. Great leadership post. All those who are in leadership positions need to read this, because even very well known leaders do not abide by this. I hope those that are looked at as the “top man” can identify their qualities.

    1. Hi Brian,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found the article valuable.

      I really appreciate that you think more leaders should read this article, I hope for the same thing too.

      Keep inspiring me to keep going my friend.

      All the best,


  4. You portrayed well how building trust is important for a leader. Sharing weakness to the team is something I never thought. It needs boldness and courage to tell your weakness and lead them at the same time.

    1. Hi Kavitha,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found the article valuable.

      You are right, to share our weaknesses with our people is bold and we need to build the courage to do it. But, it is also necessary as it will help us to build trust with our people, and that is how we can increase our influence with them.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  5. Hey Tom, great thoughts about leadership qualities and trust that all try and imbibe as leaders and team members. This is such an inspirational post and it will definitely inspire many leaders, They will learn a lot from your article to work efficiently in a better way with their team and they will know how to build trust and how important is it for a leader to inspire the confidence of his command.

    All the best.


    1. Hi Aparna,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found the article inspirational, that was my intention.

      I appreciate your thoughts on how people will learn from this, and I completely agree with you that as a leader it is very important to inspire confidence into your team.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  6. I like the concept of being a ‘servant leader’. It’s always a mistake to mistake ego as leadership. If you can’t step down and communicate with your team, you can’t be an effective leader. Great read!


    1. Hi Kenny,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you found the article valuable.

      I totally agree that it is a mistake to consider ego as leadership, and that communication as a leader is absolutely paramount.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  7. My current boss has built a great relationship with all the employees. He has held office parties at his house (well, not now during the pandemic) and he also asks for our feedback, wanting to know where he may be going wrong. He can handle negative comments, he is not very sensitive, but at the same time that lack of sensitivity often shows with us. Although we trust him and he is a great boss, he lacks empathy for situations that life sometimes throws at his employees. I guess that no one is perfect, and he is aware of it. He has done great, though, in building trust with the whole team. I have worked with him for 8 or 9 years now.

    I have had bosses that did not inspire trust in me, and like you recommended in this article, I did not stay long and looked for a better work place.

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you for your thorough comment. I’m so pleased that you found the article valuable.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences with your current boss, and it’s great to hear that he has built a great relationship with his employees (including you). He sounds like a true leader and treats his people very well. A lack of empathy is something that he can work on and develop. Has anybody told him about this, or had a discussion about his lack of empathy?

      If you need any further advice or help with leadership then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

      All the best,


  8. One of my former employees always rubbed me the wrong side and vice versa. I hadn’t chosen her myself – I bought the company of a retiring colleague and the deal included his staff as well (tip: never do that, in the Netherlands this means you also take all their years they have worked in the former company, which can cost you a lot of money if things go wrong).
    But it wasn’t entirely her fault or maybe even not at all. I was too inexperienced and probably insecure as well. So it’s a pity I didn’t run into a blog like yours back then. It could have helped me a lot!
    Thanks, Tom, for yet another excellent article. I enjoyed reading it.

    1. Hi Hannie,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found the article excellent.

      I appreciate you sharing your experiences with us as there will be many people who will be able to relate.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


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