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, and chapter 5 discusses righting wrongs.

This post, which includes an excerpt from chapter 6, discusses the component of accountability that builds trust and makes us trustworthy.

Accountability is a two-pronged component that includes both a sense of duty and a willingness to take responsibility for our conduct, whether that is our words or our actions, or both.

Accountability also entails taking responsibility for the things and the people entrusted to us. Literally, when we are accountable we stand as a shield between everything and everyone we are responsible for.

If attacks come from from outside, we take the hit. We provide a safe and protected environment where growth, learning, and progress can thrive because we encourage it and the environment is threat-free.

Accountability, therefore, encompasses a large amount of territory. It also requires that we put our egos permanently on the shelf and conduct ourselves selflessly in all areas of our lives.

But, like all the other components of building trust and being trustworthy, accountability is rarely seen among people who are leadership positions today.

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 6: The Accountability Component of Trust and Trustworthiness”

In this chapter we’ll show the aspects that encompass accountability and I believe it will become apparent when we review those that there is a serious lack of quintessential leadership in all walks of life today. But as we strive to be quintessential leaders, we will see that the component of accountability is one that must be part of who and what we are in order to build trust and be trustworthy.

What does accountability entail and how does accountability get measured in terms of quintessential leadership? Merriam-Webster defines accountability as “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility” or “to account for one’s actions.” Being obligated and being willing are both attributes of character and mindset, which are crucial areas of distinction that make quintessential leaders stand out from everyone else. 

Obligation is rarely found in organizational thinking today and in many ways it reflects the larger lack of a sense of obligation reflected in society.

Instead of recognition and actions that reflect that recognition of what we owe others, society, in general, has adopted an entitlement mindset that says “I owe nothing, but everyone else owes me.”

This is reflected in the “I deserve” and “my rights” attitudes that are prevalent in every part of life – home, family, school, extracurricular activities, religion, and work – today. 

Obligation, by definition, is not negotiable. It is an integral and driving force in who we are, what we do, what we say, and how we think. Quintessential leaders know and understand their obligations and strive to fulfill them in every part of their lives and that includes the area of accountability.

Willingness is another character and mindset attribute of a quintessential leader.

Even if people know they should (obligation) do something, but they don’t do it, then they lack the quality of willingness. There is a proverb that says the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This speaks directly to knowing we should do something, but being unwilling, whether by procrastination, slothfulness, or lack of desire, to do what we know we should do. 

So, as quintessential leaders, we know we should and are willing to be accountable for everything within our control. What does that exactly mean? What does it look like in practice?

Mike Myatt, in his article, “Leadership is Not Dodgeball,” gives a big-picture summary in his title.

We all remember playing dodge ball in elementary school. The object of the game was to avoid being hit by the ball if you were in the middle of the circle and it required running, jumping out of the way, ducking, and occasionally pushing other people in the path of the ball.

And for the most part, we see people in leadership positions doing these same maneuvers in terms of accountability in negative situations (these are also the first people to take full credit and accountability in positive situations).

One of the most common responses of most people in leadership positions today, across the human spectrum of organizational units and constructs when problems, issues, and mistakes happen is to simply run away – to distance themselves personally as far from the negative events as possible. This is out and out cowardice and not a quintessential leader trait.”

Comments
  1. […] 3 discusses integrity, and chapter 4 discusses fairness, chapter 5 discusses righting wrongs, and chapter 6 discusses […]

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  2. […] 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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  3. […] 3 discusses integrity, andchapter 4 discusses fairness, chapter 5 discussesrighting wrongs, chapter 6 discusses accountability, and chapter 7 discusses consistency, and chapter 8 discusses […]

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  4. […] 3 discusses integrity, andchapter 4 discusses fairness, chapter 5 discussesrighting wrongs, chapter 6 discusses accountability, and chapter 7 discusses consistency, chapter 8 discusses sincerity, […]

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