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Build Trust: Be Reliable, Competent and Sincere

Trust is frequently rated high in polls and surveys on leadership characteristics. A 2016 McQuaig Global Talent Recruitment Survey ranked building trust as the second most important leadership characteristic (behind empowering others), and a Pew Research Center survey shows honesty to be the most important trait. In terms of school leadership, Education World’s survey of forty-three principals reported that trustworthiness and credibility were viewed as highly important qualities for schools. According to Greater Good Berkeley, trust in schools comes down to one thing: psychological safety, which is the safety to speak one’s mind, to discuss with openness and honesty what is and isn’t working, to make collective decisions, to take risks, and to fail. These together form a school community of reliance and integrity that researchers, such as Anthony Bryk and Barbara Schneider, suggest are required for deep organizational change and transformation.