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, chapter 5 discusses righting wrongs, and chapter 6 discusses accountability.

This post, which includes an excerpt from chapter 7, discusses the component of consistency that builds trust and makes us trustworthy.

Being consistent in our lives as humans is often very difficult. The reasons for this difficulty are quite simple:

  • Our conduct is a reflection of our feelings, which are constantly changing, instead of our thinking, which is – or should be – more unchangeable in all the things and ways that matter
  • We do not have a solid foundation and core of principles, absolute right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable, and good and bad that we adhere to ourselves and apply equally to everything and everyone else in our lives without exception

Inconsistency is extremely damaging in every way.

It creates instability, unreliability, fear, reluctance, malaise, disenfranchisement, alienation, and excessively-high stress levels.

Inconsistency completely inhibits the ability to plan, to project, and to grow. It also prevents teams from developing and reaching their potential and will eventually lead to high attrition rates. 

And, yet, consistency is impossible to find in many people who are leadership positions today. Randomness and chaos seem to rule every corner of the world and that is a big contributor to the prevalent lack of trust in and untrustworthiness of the majority of people who are in leadership positions now.

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 7: The Consistency Component of Trust and Trustworthiness”

What this means in practical terms is that a quintessential leader is who he or she says he or she is and that he or she is what he or she says they believe – all the time, without exception. When we as quintessential leaders practice consistency, our teams always know what to expect and that helps to create an organized, sensible and predictable environment in which team members can operate, grow, and thrive.

When those who claim to be leaders don’t practice consistency, they become very much like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The environment for their teams is chaotic, confusing and unpredictable and is characterized by constant fear and failure to thrive.

Consistency, like all the other components of trust and trustworthiness, is a rare commodity in any part of life today. It goes hand-in-hand with fairness and character. In society, in parenting, in politics, in religion, and in business, consistency has been replaced by expediency. The lack of consistency that overshadows humanity now is also a reflection of the “it’s all about me” mindset that seems to be the driving force in most people today.

Convictions, commitments, principles are built on foundations of sand that shift continuously (and are, therefore, broken almost as soon as they are made) depending on the situation at the moment. Most people and most people in leadership positions are more concerned about how things will effect them personally and how things look than they are about consistency, fairness, and character. 

That is a sad commentary on what we as a society have become. However, quintessential leaders don’t follow the crowd and allow society to mold and shape them (“everybody else is doing it, so it must be okay”), but instead stay on the path of building trust and being trustworthy and they exhibit consistency no matter what the situation both as leaders and examples to others. 

I was recently at a conference where I saw a lot of glaring examples of inconsistency among people in leadership positions.

But one stood out more than most of the others.

A presenter had three presentations during the conference.

In his first presentation, he made some erroneous and unsupported statements that left many of us scratching our heads.

In his second presentation, he was on target with everything and was able to fully provide support for the whole presentation. 

In his third presentation, he went back to the erroneous and unsupported statements of the first presentation and actually expanded on them.

The problem? The speaker’s second presentation completely contradicted what he said in his first and third presentations.”

Comments
  1. […] 4 discusses fairness, chapter 5 discusses righting wrongs, chapter 6 discusses accountability, and chapter 7 discusses […]

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

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  3. […] 4 discusses fairness, chapter 5 discussesrighting wrongs, chapter 6 discusses accountability, and chapter 7 discusses consistency, chapter 8 discusses sincerity, and chapter 9 discusses setting […]

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