My view on communication was expressed last week. This week Trust (Leaders need to be continually aware of words or behavior that undermine organizational success), and Character.
My post on Trust from Leadership To The Max in 2011 (summarized):
Trust the Most Valuable Resource
“I’m painfully aware of the importance of trust, through personal experiences, and through observation of others struggling with the issue. I believe trust is basic for any productive, and meaningful relationship. Stephen Covey in his book Principle-Centered Leadership writes, “Trust-or lack of it-is at the root of success or failure in relationships and in the bottom-line results of business, industry, education, and government.”
Trust has been written about in great detail, and yet it’s not easy to define. It’s a sense about someone that affects how we act, what we say, and how we say it. Trust is a mix of character, competence, integrity, and values. Trust is elusive. It can take years to build, yet can be gone in an instant by a comment, or an action.
Trust issues begin with a few isolated incidents that can then affect everyone in the work group.
Examples of behaviors associated with destroying trust:
1 Assuming someone is going to respond in a negative way and interacting consciously or unconsciously with that person in a way that sows mistrust.
2 Making excuses; not accepting responsibilities.
3 Withholding information.
4 Not keeping confidences.
5 Talking about someone behind their back.
6 Saying one thing, and doing another.
7 Speaking in half-truths; not addressing an issue head-on.
8 Breaking commitments.”
My post on Character in 2011 (summarized):
What’s All The Fuss? Does Character Really Count?
(Character as defined in Webster’s dictionary as the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of a person; moral or ethical quality; qualities of honesty, fortitude, integrity.)
What a leader does in their private life is their business. Personal freedom is an essential part of our democratic way of life. What does matter, however, is when personal activities carry over into public life; when these activities contribute to violating trust, and represent a misuse of authority (which interferes with the personal freedom and rights of others). This issue of separating personal and public lives then begs for the question, does anyone believe we can behave differently? Although today’s society seems to think so, I don’t.
What do we value in our leaders? What are we willing to accept? What are the boundaries? Who will choose? Do we tolerate one set of standards for one segment of our society versus another?
I expect leaders should value honesty, professionalism, equality, truthfulness, fairness and consistency. I believe leaders should model the behavior they desire from those they lead. I don’t believe leaders should disregard or diminish these values in the name of tolerance. How then can they lead?
Next: The Extraordinary Leader
Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders
My personal comments The Leadership Tent Poles