Home » Articles written by experts » Trust & Leaders: Warmth or Strength?



A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. William Arthur Ward

There are several frameworks and models of trustworthy leadership. Some describe the “three C’S” of Character, Competence and Consistency, while another substitutes “consistency” for compassion. Randy Conley, the Vice President of Client Services & Trust Practice Leader for The Ken Blanchard Companies, and one of our Alliance members, employs the ABCDs as a model (Able, Believable, Connected, Dependable.) At Trust Across America we like to say that trustworthy leaders are VIPS’s (Values, Integrity and Promises kept.)

Yesterday a colleague shared this Harvard Business Review article discussing the work of behavioral science researchers at Princeton (Amy Cuddy and Susan Fiske) and Lawrence University’s Peter Glick.  Simply, the most influential traits of great leaders are warmth and strength. The difficulty comes in deciding which comes first, and if you are like me, you will be surprised at the findings.

Why are these traits so important? Because they answer two critical questions: “What are this person’s intentions toward me?” and “Is he or she capable of acting on those intentions?” Together, these assessments underlie our emotional and behavioral reactions to other people, groups, and even brands and companies. 

When considering the most important traits of those who lead with trust, which do you think comes first, warmth or strength?

Drop me a note at Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com or leave a comment.


Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Nominations are now being accepted for Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s 5th annual Global Top Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business.

Have you seen our brand new magazine TRUST!

Fall 14 Trust Magazine-Cover


Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

, , , , , , ,

Add reply