Even if a company has an amazing culture and great systems in place, most employees can’t fully commit to their work if they don’t trust their leaders. As a leader, you can see major gains in your employees’ performance without making any significant changes to structure or salaries. You can merely set a positive example by honing the following qualities –also known as the 4 H’s.


Honorable leaders live up to their commitments. They make no promise that they can’t keep. Their word is their bond. They follow a code of reciprocity that enables other people to trust them—and to want to follow them. In the words of Rushworth Kidder, founder of the Institute of Global Ethics, it’s “adherence to the unenforceable.” Taking responsibility, giving credit where credit is due, behaving morally and ethically—these are the habits of the honorable person.

One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain.

“Always do right,” he penned. “This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.”


Leading from the heart cannot be feigned or coached. If you lead from the heart it means that you have an unflagging belief in your vision and dream. Possessing a passion for what you do not only inspires other employees to work harder and believe in the final vision, but also helps your team get through disappointments and failures to successfully emerge on the other side. What distinguishes successful leaders is their ability to sustain passion through adversity.


What’s the most important attribute people look for in their managers and leaders? A study of most admired CEOs cited humility as the number- one factor—their willingness to accept and admit their flaws. All the passion in the world won’t help you inspire your employees if you’re constantly thinking of yourself instead of your team or your company as a whole. Being a more humble leader makes it easier for your employees to trust in you. Having more humility will also help you put more trust in your employees.


People love leaders who display a sense of humor. When you poke fun at yourself, our cheater meters swing toward “trust.” If love is the universal language, then humor is the universal trust builder. Employees take their cues from their leaders when it comes to how much they can let their hair down. Set the tone by maintaining a sense of humor. Your employees will be more at ease around you and feel more comfortable sharing serious concerns.

Leaders should also discuss the four H’s with employees and encourage team members to develop these important qualities.

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