Reliability & Openness In Building Trust

How reliable are you as a leader? How open are you to new ideas, behaviors, cultures, people, environments, experiences? I want to cover these two topics as they are big contributors to your trustworthiness as a leader of others. Let’s begin with reliability. You might think it is about predictability or dependability. However, there’s much more to it, especially in the business world. 


Let’s say an employee has a great work ethic and hasn’t missed a day of work in three years — they’re reliable, right? Maybe, maybe not. In business, reliability is not a singular measure, but the sum of many parts and showing up is just one of them.  For example, what do you know about the accuracy of a team member’s financial reporting or client deliverables? Reliability is something that needs to be understood at an individual level and throughout your organization. Let’s take a closer look.

How to instill reliability:

  • Managing commitments: Employees need to feel justified saying “no”, to non-essential tasks while managing priorities. Empower them with project management tools to accurately estimate timelines.
  • Communication: Clearly communicate and focus on what you expect from employees. Make them comfortable talking to you about their workload and coming up with their own solutions.

  • Follow-through: Create a culture where follow-through is valued and rewarded. 

 Can your employees rely on you? Here’s how to show your reliability at work: 

  • Transparency: Keep your employees in the loop with organizational news and available opportunities for their career. If budgets or bonuses are in flux, be open about the obstacles. Don’t leave room for conjecture and gossip- discontentment grows like a weed when not addressed!

  • Specificity: Give specific timeframes and deadlines. Rather than being punitive, deadlines instill a sense of completion and satisfaction. 

  • Feedback: I’m a big proponent of mid-year reviews! Hold these regularly to maintain open performance dialogue.

  • Appreciation: Show appreciation for good work and exemplary attitudes in a meaningful way. Wrap up projects with recognition and people will want to be on your team.

  • Lead by Example: Just like a good parent, coach or mentor, your employees must see you as reliable too. Model the behavior you seek in others.


Now, let’s dive into the concept of openness. Recently, to encourage openness and communication in the office, the open floor plan became trendy. Well, COVID 19 has created completely different workplace challenges with so many leaders and employees working from home! This makes the concept of “openness” even more important. 

 How to practice openness as a leader

You can start by implementing an open communication model. It is crucially important that you as the owner, or leader walk the walk and talk the talk. Here are a few tips:

  • Encourage frequent face-to-face meetings via Zoom, Google Meets, etc. -  the goal is to show employees that management and leadership is available, interested in what their employees have to say and most importantly are approachable. 

  • Acknowledge employees- when addressing employees, remember to approach them with their individual DISC behavior style in mind. This will make for more successful interactions. It is also important to acknowledge the good work employees have done  soon after they have completed a project or assignment.

  • Involve your employees – in problem solving, change management or process improvement. This simple act makes people feel engaged, heard and appreciated as vital members of your team. 

  • Have information readily available to share - information on the business, each employee’s role, and where to go to voice concerns. 

  • Encourage creativity- tips I have written about before included examining the importance of creativity in the workforce. This is also a great way to influence openness.

  • Appropriate use of humor – can evoke more openness in your relationships at work in a light hearted way. 

In addition to the tips I’ve outlined above, encourage yourself to be open with employees about your life. Of course, you don’t need to share deep, dark personal details. Doing so helps humanize you in the eyes of your employees. You and your team members spend a lot of time with each other. They should know something about one another besides their role at work. The added benefit is that it tends to be much easier to approach people when you know you have things in common!


Do a self-inventory of how reliable and open you are with your team to build trust in you and with each other. These two competencies can improve your overall effectiveness as a leader!

I can help increase your reliability and openness as a leader of your team. Reach out to me to explore what works for you.  Contact me today.