I admit it. I am a bit obsessed with Satya Nadella and how he is changing the culture at Microsoft (September issue of Fast Company). Bias may come into play because I see he is a learning enthusiast like me, and both of our offices look like “neighborhood book shops” (although he reads all his).

But all evidence suggests that he truly embodies what an influential leader should be. He has quiet yet strong Confidence;  is 100% Committed to his vision for the company;  had the Courage to take over the top job despite the company’s problems and skepticism about his “insider” status; and he is Passionate about changing the culture through learning, inclusion and Empowering every employee to “make it happen.” Even the skeptics can’t argue with the results the company has achieved in the three short years he has been CEO, and this is in no small part due to the culture change he ignited. He is doing what he said he would do, and it is this Trustworthiness which will allow him to bring the organization along with him as he continues its transformation.

Trustworthy Train and Influence

Those who score high in the Trustworthy trait (Keller et al, 2014):

  • Express and live what they believe is right
  • Are transparent and committed to the truth
  • Have high integrity
  • Have a reputation for being authentic, reliable and responsible
  • Bring out the best in others

It is easy to see why a lack of trustworthiness makes it impossible to be influential. What about the flip side? Can you be too trustworthy? No. But you may tend to trust others too easily and risk being open with them before they are ready for it. You may also expect them to meet your standard of trustworthiness. If the behaviors that lead to trustworthiness don’t come naturally to them, they will require your coaching rather than your judgment.

What makes you trustworthy? What will you do to cultivate it in yourself and in others?

About Jeannie Phillips

Jeannie Phillips, PhD, ACC, is a Senior Affiliate Coach for Core Impact Coaching specializing in leadership development with over twenty years of corporate experience leading projects, people and the development and execution of strategy. She is also owner of J. R. Phillips Leadership Coaching focused on transforming technical experts into influential leaders.

Jeannie is a coach for Women for Change Coaching Community (W4C3), a nonprofit organization with a mission to make coaching accessible to all women.