LEADERSHIP: What it is … what it is NOT! Part TWO – Be Trustworthy

Quote Pic. Jelly men in cirlce with boss

     

PART TWO – BE TRUSTWORTHY

 

THE PURPOSE:  To inspire others to …  
BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Note: This blog is PART TWO of the series entitled LEADERSHIP:  What it is … what it is NOT! Please read PART ONE – The INTRO firstly if you haven’t already done so - 4 blogs covering: The WHY,  The WHAT, The SO WHAT and The NOW WHAT. 

In PART ONE, I wrote about WHY we need to talk about Leadership;  unwrapped a little of WHAT real leadership behaviour looks like;  and simplified the theory and frameworks on what it takes to be a GREAT leader , down to 3 core observable behaviours:

  1. Be trustworthy
  2. Lead and inspire change
  3. Be a role model

So lets start with number 1 … it is number 1 for good reason:

1. BE TRUSTWORTHY

Why?  Because TRUST is the biggy …. it  is the fuel that powers success … it is the glue that holds it all together … in personal lives, relationship building, team building, workplace culture, client service, community leadership … everything!

With it, all things are possible … people are willing to follow a trusted leader, embrace a shared vision, reach for goals and invest their energy and time. Things are achieved and there is a collective sense of pride … a sense of belonging.

Without it, people lose faith, pull back,  lose their care factor … then productivity goes down the drain and progress grinds to a halt. People become ‘dead men walking’ … going through the motions with no soul … you know, the ones that are already retired from active duty, but still showing up. Communities lose hope, and become stagnant. Some people walk away completely … for them, once the trust has gone, there is nothing to follow, no reason to be there … must move on.

TRUST is a ‘must have’ value for me … either you are trustworthy, or a waste of my time. Yes, it’s that simple. I have walked away from all types of relationships, committees, and even potential career opportunities, because the trust became eroded due to the behaviour of another or the poor leadership level in organisations and communities.  Importantly, I have no regrets and I proudly stick to my values; … I believe one should never give away their personal power to make the right choices. No one takes that away from you, unless you let them.

So … being TRUSTWORTHY, encompasses a set of observable behaviours …

HONEST + GENUINE + FAIR + ETHICAL + CONSISTENT + RELIABLE

Lets get clear on what being trustworthy looks like.  Leaders who are trustworthy are driven by strong and consistent values and beliefs. They are honest with themselves and importantly,  with others.  They behave ethically and  not only do what’s right, but importantly, focus on the right things … even if it is not personally rewarding for themselves.  Leadership is about leading others … gaining followers by establishing a bond of trust through being genuine, consistent, reliable … a person of their word, maintaining high standards of personal integrity.  They treat people fairly and with respect, connecting on a deeper rather than superficial level. Real leaders have the guts to admit their own mistakes, and do not tolerate unethical actions from others.

It takes a long time to build trust … and only an instant to destroy it.

Sadly … all too often, the behaviours we observe are not what I’ve just described …

In my previous blog I promised you some typical examples … so let’s bring out the little men [literally ...]:

Remember EENY?he thrives on positional power, is ego driven, needs to be popular, craves recognition and attention.  Hmmm … sound like anyone you know? … some politicians, yeah? Well let’s say EENY is in a position of power and relies on followers votes to keep him there. There is no doubt he is passionate about the community he leads and he genuinely believes he is the right person for the task … so much so, that recently he willingly played unethical games to ensure he kept his position. He treated people like great mates and used their ideas and strategies with suggestions of forming a ‘great team’, … then dumped them in preference for a team of ‘lower hanging fruit’ that posed less threat to his popularity or power base.  Add to that a sprinkle of dishonesty, a good splash of disingenuine superficial smooching, media manipulation, condoning of conflicting interests and continual support of unethical actions from others … EENY’s recent behaviour has destroyed previously trusting relationships.  So … some would say to those on the receiving end: “suck it up … that’s politics for you … the game you have to play to win”.

REALLY?  How’s that working out for us in Australia?  Why do we continue to accept the ‘games they play’?  When will YOU stand up and say ‘NO” to poor behaviour, to bully-boy tactics, to these seemingly entrenched divide and conquer tactics? These things keep small-minded people in positions of power and communities stagnated and stale … and of greater concern; it turns intelligent, innovative, visionary people away from key community leadership positions.

MEENY is super delighted about that!  She’s spent years working her way up from basic high school education to a position of power on the backs of others ideas, claiming anything that moves to her credit.  Addicted to the need for significance, she attends the opening of any envelope. She has to; … with low level capability and poor record of achievements, her survival depends on dishonesty and destroying any threats or competition that threaten her dominance and power over others. Focusing on MEENY in relation to trustworthiness is a waste of time: … there is no correlation here as MEENY’s behaviours are quite the opposite … narcissistic and toxic. However, what is worth questioning, is WHY other so called leaders in the community continue to tolerate and support her unethical actions?  For me …the real damage falls on those who continue to support her … their inaction to address this destroys trust in them as leaders.

Like MOLLY – he’s so self-centred focused that he choses to stick his head in the sand and not deal with all that ‘people and conflict’ stuff. He’d rather turn a blind eye, and just work on a project from the corner office with the door shut; … playing his cards close to his chest.  While he may be intelligent and achievement focused, building trust is about connecting with people on a deeper level than just passing them in the hallways.  It’s about being genuinely interested in a wide community of people from all backgrounds and perspectives; … not choosing the suited ones and shunning the ‘great unwashed’.  It’s about being open and honest, transparent and accountable … not secretive and under-handed … that doesn’t build trust.

MO on the other hand, builds trust more easily than the other 3 characters … simply because he is a jovial, likable character … loves a good old chat with people. However, real trust is cemented in the doing … the follow through on commitments. It’s much more than being a ‘yes man’ and telling people what they want to here.  Actions always speak louder than words.  I’ll talk more about MO in the next blogs.

OK, so these aren’t examples of great leaders … unfortunately, I could use so many examples of what leadership behaviour is NOT!  From my previous work across several government departments in various regions in Queensland over a ten year period, my observation was that the higher up the ladder, the less REAL leadership behaviour was present.  Most public sector senior management positions were simply political puppets and not demonstrating real leadership behaviour.  What little trust there may have been, was completely destroyed by the 2012 Campbell Newman ‘slash and burn’ of the QLD public sector … that had nothing to do with ‘doing what’s right OR doing the right thing’; … it was simply political point scoring.  Hey, don’t get me wrong … the Public Sector needed some restructuring for sure! … BUT the way it was done was not only heartless, it was not done fairly … it was not done ethically … it had nothing to do with rewarding good performance and removing the ‘dead wood’.  The result was that many good people left and much of the entrenched problem culture stayed … particularly at senior management levels.

As I said before, for me … once the trust is gone, there is nothing left … I moved on. [HINT: Stay tuned for the 2014 release of e-book on my experience in the QLD Public Sector, including learnings and recommendations on what I believe needs to change :) ]

Many workplaces underestimate how important it is that leaders and managers demonstrate leadership behaviours … particularly in building trusting relationships across teams. It is the number ONE reason why people leave organisations. TRUST builds through establishing genuine relationships with others by being accessible, by listening carefully to them, by clearly articulating and demonstrating your values and beliefs and by doing this on a regular, consistent basis.

People join good organisations and leave bad managers.

So what do we do to improve this?  It’s not that hard … most of us would list being TRUSTWORTHY as one of our top five values. So, we know what that is … we know we expect that from our partners, our close family, from our close friends; … so why not from our leaders in the workplace and in our communities?

Being TRUSTWORTHY forms the basis of your reputation … and having a good reputation is everything.  It’s like virginity … once you’ve lost it, it’s gone.

So … I urge you to:

  • STOP ACCEPTING POOR BEHAVIOURS
  • STOP TURNING A BLIND EYE TO INAPPROPRIATE OR UNETHICAL STANDARDS
  • STOP BEING COMPLACENT AND SPEAK OUT AGAINST UNTRUSTWORTHY LEADERSHIP
  • STAND UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT AND BE BOLD ENOUGH TO NAME THE BEHAVIOUR WHEN IT’S NOT RIGHT.
  • TAKE A REAL INTEREST … FIND GOOD POTENTIAL LEADERS, ENCOURAGE THEM, SUPPORT THEM TO STEP UP AND LEAD MUCH NEEDED CHANGE IN OUR COMMUNITIES.
If you do nothing … nothing will change … so BE the change you want to see in others.

 

Why do leaders need to drive change? … more on that in my next blog. I promise I will showcase some GOOD examples of change leaders … yes, we often have to look outside of our local community to find them.

 

Click here for a PDF printable version of PART 2 - LEADERSHIP – What is IS … What it is NOT – PART 2 – Be TRUSTWORTHY

To read more online, click on  Part THREE – Lead and Inspire CHANGE [when released]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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