Development Cooperation Handbook/Communication Skills/Behaviors that Endanger Trust

In the same way that a leader-manager can encourage trusting relationships, s/he can also endanger trust by keeping secrets, discouraging interaction or looking for people to blame when something goes wrong. By avoiding the behaviors listed here, you will help ensure the maintenance and enhancement of a trusting atmosphere in your unit.


  • Look on expressions of feelings and doubts as signs of weakness.
  • Be narcisistically sarcastic of others.
  • Let your subordinates feel that you expect them to “stretch the truth” a little if it will make the organization look good.
  • Be secretive. Not let them be sure what’s on your mind.
  • Discourage subordinates from coming to you for help.
  • When something goes wrong, blow up, hit the ceiling, and look for the guilty party.
  • Gossip about and disparage others on the staff when they are not present.
  • Over respond to casual comments by others about your people and you.
  • Take credit for others’ successes.
  • Plan vendettas. Draw on subordinates for carrying these out.
  • Always insist on plenty of documentation to protect yourself.