Chances are your employees have been burned by a less than trustworthy boss before--eight out of ten of us have put our faith in a leader who has subsequently let us down, according to Stanford social psychologist Roderick Kramer.

That adds up to a lot of leery employees, and a lot of bosses facing an uphill battle to win their teams' trust. So how can you crack through cynicism and convince your employees that you're really worthy of their confidence? The Stanford GSB newsletter recently spoke to Kramer about what his research reveals about how to convince your team you are truly trustworthy.

1. Be competent

Just like you can't build a sturdy structure on a shaky foundation, there's no way to get your team to trust you if you're not good at your job. Fail at basic competence and no stylistic trick is going to fix things, so make sure you get the basics right, the research writeup emphasizes. "Research shows that trustworthy leaders demonstrate that they have the skills and knowledge to steer the organization," says the post, summing up Kramer's findings.

2. Talk about trust

If you've checked box one and are running your company competently. Good, but don't think that your actions will speak for themselves, silently signalling to your employees the importance you place on trust. You also need to explicitly talk about how trust is important for your organization to focus employees' attention on the trait. Trustworthy bosses "talk about the importance of trust, so that people know the leader values it, and that there will be consequences if that trust is violated," says Kramer.

3. Establish clear roles and systems

Companies are collective enterprises, so it's impossible to trust a leader if the organization he or she oversees is in shambles. Creating systems that are fair, transparent and consistent will teach your team to trust both the company's processes and you. "When people know what they're supposed to do, and they know what other people are supposed to do, then they trust that system of roles to work," Kramer explains.

4. Take the blame; spread the credit

We naturally ascribe blame--and credit--to leaders when things go well or poorly. The best leaders, however, respond differently to these two possibilities. While they accept the blame for rough times at their organizations, when things go well they're careful to shine the spotlight on the contributors that made that success possible. "There's a little bit of evidence that suggests that when leaders are generous at sharing credit, they actually are more trusted," Kramer reports. "It shows that they are fully confident."

5. Be honest in a crisis

Even the best organizations and leaders sometimes find themselves in trouble. Your first impulse might be to shield your team from hard times and pretend that things are better than they are. Resist that urge if you want to be trusted, according to Kramer. "One of the fatal mistakes many organizational leaders make is not the initial misstep that causes the crisis; it's the cover-up--the attempt to spin it or mask the problem," he says.

Instead of trying to hide the crisis, be swift in acknowledging the error and taking action to prevent it from happening again. "Make a very public display of the new safeguards or policies that will prevent it from happening again," Kramer concludes.