Create a Trusting and Fair Environment Trust and Leadership Skip to main content

Create a Trusting and Fair Environment

Trust is the foundation of good leadership and strong teamwork. Being fair and trustworthy is a leader’s first order of business. Squashing attempts by team members to create an unhealthy work environment—an environment of backstabbing, cynicism, cliques, or one-upping—is the second most important order of business. High performing leaders are good at detecting early signs of such behaviors and nipping them in the bud.

33% of employees said a lack of open, honest communication has the most negative impact on employee morale.1

The third order of business is having open communications within the team. Some leaders encourage “stabbing them in the heart, not the back” which translates into “telling  team members directly when you are put out or peeved with their behavior instead of telling another teammate about this behavior behind someone’s back.”

Some might think this language and such a confrontational demeanor is too harsh for the workplace, and I might agree. But regardless of the specific wording, the message from the leader—communicated by words and actions—needs to be “our team behaves in ways that promote trust and fairness.”

Ways to build trust:

There are a variety of ways in which a leader can build a trusting environment. One critical component of a trusting team is the team’s acceptance of various opinions and feedback – both positive and constructive. Leaders, as opposed to managers, model behaviors that show the best ways to give and receive, constructive feedback.  

To create trust, when giving constructive feedback one should:

  1. Give the feedback in a timely manner.
  2. Have a purpose for giving the feedback  (for example: improvement, extinction of behavior, explaining perceptions of others when behavior occurs).
  3. Discuss the situation, not the individual.
  4. Be direct, but not formal.

To create trust, when receiving constructive feedback one should:

  1. Listen to better understand the issue(s).
  2. Be appreciative of the feedback given. At a minimum say, “Thank you for sharing this with me.”
  3. Ask questions to fully understand the issue(s).
  4. Assure the feedback giver that consideration will be given to the comment(s) and ask for time to respond or follow-up.
1 Gadd, Michael. “Poor Communication Hurts Morale – Leadership Strategies – Communication.”, Inc., 6 Nov. 2008, communication.html.


To learn more leadership tips, read Sarah Robinson’s soon to be launched book “FRESH Leadership: 5 Skills that Will Transform You and Your Team.”  A pre-order link will be available soon.

Below are comments from early readers and reviewers.

In Fresh Leadership, Sarah Robinson has managed to do something that many other great books on leadership have failed to do – provide a lot of excellent “take home” material on how to actually implement the many great ideas that she has assembled.  Perhaps it’s her background in teaching, but this book is meant to be highlighted, with notes written in the corners – in other words to be a valuable resource, and not just returned to the office bookshelf.  It’s a terrific, easy to read guide on how to grow managers into effective leaders that should be in every leader’s tool bag.

Tom O’Neil


This is an important book for anyone in a leadership position, or aspiring to a future leadership role. It presents a core set of leadership principles that are easy to grasp, and backed by insightful, real-world examples and sound advice. Each chapter provides helpful exercises and discussion points to enhance learning and turn thought into action. If you want to be a better leader, read this book!

Kevin Fix
Senior Financial Advisor
Fullen Financial Group, Inc.


FRESH Leadership should be mandatory reading for anyone wanting to build a successful organization – whether you’re a leader or a team player. As a business woman and a leader, I found Sarah’s book to be both inspiring and practically helpful for facing the ever-changing and challenging world we live in today.

Deborah Dorman
Award Winning Indianapolis Realtor for 25 Years
Exclusive Referral Agent for Ryan Dorman
ReMax Legends


FRESH Leadership is a must-read for every leader, manager and employee. It offers hands-on tips and tools to allow everyone to be of the best version of themselves in the workplace. Sarah writes with knowledge and experience and also draws from outside research to bring it all together in a relatable and easy read. Critique versus criticism, employee engagement versus satisfaction, it is all here. This will totally transform your workplace. Well done! 

Cheryl Graham
Small Business QuickBooks Coach
author of Quickbooks Tour Guide


This is a book that helps a leader examine their current experience and test it against leading edge organizational research and findings.  It offers clear directions and challenges leaders to assess their current practices in the light of multiple insights offered in each chapter.  Leadership will always be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding, especially when one finds some new behaviors and beliefs that offer creative options and approaches.  Workers want to be effectively led and FRESH LEADERSHIP provides a fast track into 21st century transformational leadership skills.  I believe this book can build a leader’s confidence to follow their heart, mind, and experience and become the empowered leader that they personally want to become, and the leader that both their companies and workers are searching for now!

John V. Kirby
Organizational and Human Resources Consultant


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