the quintessential leader building trust and being trust worthy book

In the first post of this series, the excerpt from chapter 1 included a list of all the components we must develop and have to build trust and be trustworthy.

In the subsequent chapter excerpts detailing the components we need to have and develop to build trust and be trustworthy, chapter 2 discusses honesty, chapter 3 discusses integrity, and chapter 4 discusses fairness.

This post, which includes an excerpt from chapter 5, discusses the component of righting wrongs that builds trust and makes us trustworthy.

It seems for us humans that admitting we were wrong, made a mistake, or totally screwed up is the hardest thing for us to do.

However, if we are not able to do this, then we can’t fix what we’ve broken and we can’t right what and/or we’ve wronged.

The ability to immediately own and immediately make right being wrong, the mistakes we make, and those colossal screw-ups that we all have in our lives is a part of character that is sadly lacking in most people in leadership positions today. 

That is one of the reasons why things spiral further out of control in a negative direction, why things get even more broken to the point of being beyond repair, and why there is so little trust in people in leadership positions. 

It doesn’t do any good to say “trust me” when all we’ve shown is an inability to be trustworthy at all, because we continue to leave ever-growing trails of unadmitted and unfixed breaks, wrongs, and disasters behind us.

Actions will always speak louder than words.

Building 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 second chapter discusses the component of honesty in building trust and being trustworthy.

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Excerpt from”Chapter 5: The Righting Wrongs Component of Trust and Trustworthiness”

This chapter is one in which we’ll tackle a subject that addresses the heart of a quintessential leader. It is true that no one really knows our hearts completely except for God. However, behavior (actions and words) indicates the state of our character (good or bad) and character indicates the state of our inner selves – the heart.

I believe one of the most difficult things for all of us to do is to admit we made a mistake, we were wrong, or we screwed up. There is something intrinsic in us that wants to avoid that, deny that, excuse that, justify that, or even blame it on someone else.

This reticence to own up, to take responsibility for all of our words and actions will be addressed fully in an upcoming chapter on another of the components of trust and trustworthiness, which is accountability.

But the fact that we all wrestle with the admission of wrong-doing, in whatever form those words and/or actions took – and until we admit wrong-doing, we cannot right wrong-doing – shows that this is a quintessential leader trait we must be consciously working to both acquire and practice consistently. Without it, we will not be quintessential leaders. 

There are many examples of the fallout from being unwilling to admit and then to right wrongs that we can look at to see, as quintessential leaders, what not to do.

I will briefly summarize a few here, but I strongly encourage you to research on your own the many more examples from history, religion, society, and public life where wrongs were not admitted to and corrected to see how devastating the results were and to understand the things that each of us must be on guard to not repeat in our own lives and leadership of others.

I also strongly encourage each of us to look at our own lives for examples where we have not exhibited this quintessential leader trait.

Unfortunately, we all have them. We may not be in a position to go back and fix them all – if we are, we should – but we have the opportunity to learn the lessons and change so that we are consistently admitting, without excuses and blame, and righting our wrongs immediately.

There are two examples of people in leadership positions who lacked this quintessential leader trait in the Bible that stand out in my mind every time I read about them and I literally shake my head that they were unwilling to do anything about it, even though the consequences were dire and long-term.

Comments
  1. […] chapter 2 discusses honesty, chapter 3 discusses integrity, and chapter 4 discusses fairness, and chapter 5 discusses […]

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  2. […] chapter 2 discusses honesty, chapter 3 discusses integrity, and chapter 4 discusses fairness, chapter 5 discusses righting wrongs, and chapter 6 discusses […]

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  3. […] chapter 2 discusses honesty, chapter 3 discusses integrity, and chapter 4 discusses fairness, chapter 5 discusses righting wrongs, chapter 6 discusses accountability, and chapter 7 discusses […]

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  4. […] chapter 2discusses honesty, chapter 3 discusses integrity, andchapter 4 discusses fairness, chapter 5 discussesrighting wrongs, chapter 6 discusses accountability, and chapter 7 discusses consistency, […]

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  5. […] chapter 2 discusses honesty, chapter 3 discusses integrity, andchapter 4 discusses fairness, chapter 5 discussesrighting wrongs, chapter 6 discusses accountability, and chapter 7 discusses […]

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