The 5 A’s of Leadership Communication to Build Trust and Loyalty

Published: Feb 04, 2022
Modified: Apr 08, 2024


Why should anyone want to work for someone they can’t trust? Earning the trust of your team members is crucial to motivating their performance and securing their loyalty. And the measure of your trustworthiness among employees is largely determined by how you come across in your communication.

As a leader, how you communicate has an impact on your team’s level of commitment and the quality of work they deliver—which, in turn, has real and significant implications for your business. If employees feel like there’s a lack of transparency, accountability, and caring from upper management, it could negatively affect bottom-line results. Just as importantly and even more directly, if employees feel like their immediate manager isn’t genuinely invested in their efforts or their shared mission, then both team morale and individual productivity are highly likely to remain stagnant, if not plummet.

A leader in professional development, American Management Association (AMA) recognizes the importance of communication from leaders—spoken and written, in person and virtual—to building a sense of trust, dedication to excellence, and feelings of loyalty within their workforce. To help you become a more effective communicator and a trustworthy leader, AMA experts have identified fundamental principles of leadership communication to keep in mind. Pro tip: To become an A-list communicator, think of the 5 A’s:

  1. Authenticity. Always be authentic. That’s where others’ trust in you begins. As a leader, your audience is focused on you. So, be genuine and emotionally honest. Use realistic, everyday language—take care to avoid using jargon or terms that might make you sound like you’re “talking down” to people. Be ready to discuss the “undiscussables,” even when it’s difficult. However, remember: You can be honest without being brutal.
  2. Attunement. Be attuned to others. Know what’s going on in your organization and your industry, and be aware of how what’s happening in the outside world affects them. Be sensitive to the needs of your people and to people’s cultural differences.
  3. Adaptability. Be adaptable. Flex your communication approach when circumstances change. At times, you may need to be more results-focused. In other instances, you may want to be more assertive.
  4. Affirming. Be affirmative. You’ll inspire more loyalty if you’re always supportive and appreciative of others. Overcome negativity and resistance by being optimistic and encouraging.
  5. Achievement-Oriented. Place a priority on achievement. Take the initiative and push for excellence in others–and in yourself.

By consistently emphasizing the 5 A’s in your communication, you’ll come across as a strong, reliable, and supportive leader who’s in touch with reality and invested in your team’s success. From this foundation, you’ll naturally build trust and loyalty in your people—and benefit your organization in the process.

About AMA

American Management Association (AMA) is globally recognized as a leader in professional development. For nearly 100 years, it has helped millions of people bring about positive change in their performance in order to improve results. AMA’s learn-by-doing instructor-led methods, extensive content, and flexible learning formats are proven effective—and constantly evolve to meet the changing needs of individuals and organizations. To learn more, visit