“Great leaders create a culture of trust. Poor leaders refuse to challenge a culture of mistrust.”

In the comic strip, “Peanuts,” Lucy was great at persuading, but she was certainly no leader. Most of the time she convinced those around her that her advice was worth the five pennies she charged.

It seemed she never had trouble getting the little round-headed kid to try one more time to kick the ball that she always pulled away at the last second.

Like Charlie Brown, most of us want to trust those around us. However, unlike Charlie Brown, few of us keep coming back to someone who continually jerks the ball away when we try to kick it.

Great leaders know that creating and maintaining trust with their team members is their number one task by far. Without trust, very little else matters.

Great leaders continually build a culture of trust…the glue of every team and the lubricant of every win. A culture of trust has the following characteristics:

First, shared accountability and shared commitments. Second, open and honest communication based on accurate and adequate information. Third, there are no secrets or surprises. Fourth, DWYSYWD, “Do what you say you will do.”

Without these characteristics being modeled by senior leaders as a way of life and not a goal to be reached, turnover is high, individual and team morale suffers and results are minimal at best, or worse, nonexistent.

Every organization and relationship is held together by trust. You will develop no faster and advance no further than the level of trust that members have in themselves, among each other and for their leader.

When was the last time you checked the balance in your team members’ trust accountants? When they reach zero, your credibility to provide effective leadership is over, regardless of your title or position.