the quintessential leader building trust and being trust worthy bookBuilding trust and being trustworthy is an integrated trait of quintessential leaders.

It is also an integrated trait that all of us – because each and every one of us leads at least one team, small or large, of people in our lives – need to develop and have as part of the core of who we are and what we are. In essence, this trait is at the center of exemplary character and conduct, and none of us should settle for anything less than this in ourselves and others.

Unfortunately, most of us settle for less. A lot less. In ourselves. In others. 

The majority of people in leadership positions today are not trust builders and they are not trustworthy. Many of us, frankly, are also not trust builders and trustworthy.

We live in a world that with no moral code as its foundation that expects trust to be non-existent or broken. Look around. It’s everywhere, including, in many cases, very close to you.

And society has become so accustomed to this that it glorifies it instead of condemning it.

Politicians who lie routinely, who line their pockets with money and perks while making decisions that hurt and destroy the people they are supposed to represent, who cheat on their wives because they can.

Arts and sports celebrities who have no regard for faithfulness to their spouses, who live hedonistic lifestyles that destroy their families, the people around them, and, eventually their lives.

Religious leaders who cheat on their wives, who cheat on their taxes, and who scam their congregations both in how they deceitfully handle the word of God and in coercive and corrupt financial matters, acquiring wealth and power in the process.

Business leaders who destroy millions of lives by deceit, fraud, and illegal actions that result in their employees and customers losing everything while they escape any kind of punitive action and instead reap obscene profits and end their tenures – only to go to another financially lucrative position – with golden parachutes that are equally obscene.

And we, as individual leaders for our teams, who cheat on our taxes, who are routinely dishonest with the children (our own and others) and other people entrusted to us, who routinely steal things from our workplaces (you most likely didn’t pay for that pen you’re using at work, so it doesn’t belong to you), who routinely break traffic laws, who will walk out of stores with something we were not charged for and never think twice about it, who will take extra money that we’re not owed in financial transactions without blinking an eye, who cheat on our spouses, who marry until “divorce do us part,” and who, as a course of habit, break confidences of family and friends, gossip about family and friends behind their backs, and destroy reputations in the process.

Maybe we haven’t thought about building trust and being trustworthy at this kind of nitty gritty level.

But until we do – and we develop and have this trait as the core of who and what we are – we will not build trust and we will not be trustworthy. And we will not be quintessential leaders.

Trust and trustworthiness is probably the single most important trait we can possess. And it is also the most fragile.

It can take a long time to build and be, but it can be broken irreparably in a single second.

Therefore, this is a lifetime work on and in ourselves that we must commit to making an integral part of our character by continually developing it, maintaining it, and growing it. 

This goal should be our goal.

But it requires courage. It requires diligence. It requires vigilance. It requires continual self-examination. It requires continual change. It requires the ability to, much of the time, stand alone to maintain.

It is not for the faint-hearted. It is not for the vacillators. It is not for the crowd-pleasers. It is not for the pretenders. It is not for the wannabes. It is not for the weak.

But if you’re reading this, I know that you’re not any of those kinds of people. Those kinds of people won’t even read this because it requires time, effort, change, and commitment, and too many of us are, sadly, either just too lazy or we just don’t care. 

Building Trust and Being Trustworthy takes an in-depth look at the “this is what it looks like in practice” aspect of each of the components we need to develop and have to build trust and be trustworthy. The first chapter gives a comprehensive description of what building trust and being trustworthy is.

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Excerpt from”Chapter 1: Trust and Trustworthiness – A Quintessential Leader Trait”

Trust and trustworthiness – one is from others to us while the other is our state of being – are core quintessential leader traits. This book defines the components a quintessential leader must have in order to have trust and be trustworthy.

Since trust is, both from us and toward us, a by-product of being trustworthy, I want to look in today’s post at a brief summary of characteristics – I plan to discuss most, if not all, of these individually in depth in upcoming posts – that make a leader trustworthy. 

There are two main components of trustworthiness. One is character and the second is competency. If either of these is missing or deficient, there is no trustworthiness.

Character, which Steven M. R. Covey (Speed of Trust) summarizes as doing the right thing, is who we are, while competency, which Covey summarizes as doing things the right way, is what we do.

Character, good or bad, is the first and last impression the people our lives intersect with carry with them. Competency is harder to gauge and is something that is revealed more slowly over time.

As a leader, I often make hiring decisions based on character rather than competency, knowing that character is usually set long before a person ever darkens the door of an office building, and if it’s bad or deficient, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to change. Competency, on the other hand, can be taught and can be learned at any stage in life.

So what character traits engender others’ trust in us and establish us as being trustworthy, and therefore, quintessential leaders?

  • Honesty – Being truthful in every aspect of life
  • Integrity – Possessing and adhering to morally-right and ethical principles no matter what
  • Fairness – Treating all people the same way and holding them to the same standards
  • Respect – Showing care and concern for and kindness to all people
  • Accountability –  Taking full responsibility for what is within your control and expecting the same from your team
  • Sincerity – Being genuine, authentic, and real
  • Focus on adding value – Ensuring that you give as much or more than you get in all relationships
  • Right wrongs – Being willing to quickly fix problems and mistakes
  • Moral courage – Doing the right thing all the time
  • Consistency – Being the same at all times in who you are, how you are, and what you are
  • Trust – Showing others that you trust them
  • Setting boundaries – Establishing what is acceptable and unacceptable and adhering to it with no exceptions
  • Raising the bar – Holding yourself to a higher standard of conduct at all times

In the area of competencies that are required for the Quintessential Leader trait of trustworthiness, some of these come naturally, but others don’t because they require us to put our egos away and that’s is a hard thing for us all to do sometimes, but it is absolutely necessary if we are going to be trustworthy. These competencies are:

  • Listening – Being willing to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly…even if it’s about you
  • Taking criticism well – Learning to handle all criticism with grace instead of defensiveness
  • Responsiveness – Being quick to do what you say you’re going to do and to deal correctly with issues, problems, mistakes, surprises, and needs
  • Reliability – Being dependable all the time
  • Being present – Being 100% – no multitasking allowed! –engaged with people who are communicating with you”
Comments
  1. […] the first post of this series, the excerpt from chapter 1 included a list of all the components we must develop and have […]

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  2. […] the first post of this series, the excerpt from chapter 1 included a list of all the components we must develop and have […]

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  3. […] the first post of this series, the excerpt from chapter 1 included a list of all the components we must develop and have […]

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  4. […] the first post of this series, the excerpt from chapter 1 included a list of all the components we must develop and have […]

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  5. […] the first post of this series, the excerpt from chapter 1 included a list of all the components we must develop and have […]

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  6. […] the first post of this series, the excerpt from chapter 1 included a list of all the components we must develop and have […]

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  7. […] the first post of this series, the excerpt from chapter 1 included a list of all the components we must develop and have […]

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  8. […] the first post of this series, the excerpt from chapter 1 included a list of all the components we must develop and have […]

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