Leadership and Trust: the Trustworthy Leader

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Leadership > Best Practices > Leadership and Trust: the Trustworthy Leader

Leadership and Trust: the Trustworthy Leader
Arif ur Rehman, Professor, Pakistan, Member
A thought worth sharing with you all: Amy Lyman, author of ‘The Trustworthy Leader writes:
Trustworthy leaders…understand the complexity of bringing together a group of human beings to pursue extraordinary accomplishments. They are masters at guiding, directing, encouraging, and challenging people to contribute their best, in part because they ask the same of themselves. Trustworthy leaders know that their relationships with others throughout the organization are key to their success—however success is measured.
To me, however, a leader by definition must be trustworthy!

Trust and Leadership
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa, Member
I do not agree that trustworthiness is, "by definition", a requirement of leadership. How many crooked politicians and business people have been charged and convicted of fraud, corruption and other crimes that, for their successful commission, rely on the breach of trust between them and their victims? Does that mean they are not leaders?

Leadership: Epistemology V/ Ideology
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States, Premium Member
Leadership originates in epistemology, which is to say, in response to the moment. My complaint with this forum, generally, is the nearly universal impulse to reduce leadership to an ideology that fits some pet management structure.
This doesn't mean that there is not a strategic intent behind leadership, but that leadership occurs in the here/now and not in response to a collection of slogans or pre-determined pattern of behavior. They may be predictable, but they are existentially responsive as opposed to doctrinaire.
The Soviets abandoned the doctrinaire during the battle of Stalingrad in favor of the epistemological/existential, with immediate improvement s in tactical and operational success.

The Trustworthy Leader
Emmanuel Duru, Analyst, Nigeria, Member
I agree that a leader must be trusted, but sometimes he is not alone in the leadership team.
Even when he is singled out as individual person, the dilemma is: what's the extent of the required trustworthiness?
The trust must be within the context of a limited and defined pursuit. The Leader is mortal and fallible, he is bound to make mistakes but liable and accountable only to a calculated percentage of measured expectation.
To consider trustworthiness by "definition" as a requirement of leadership is not too lucid.

Epistemology, Trust and Leadership
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa, Member
In light of the comments already made on this subject, I contend that the facts indicate that trustworthiness is definitely not part of leadership on the following grounds:
1. If leadership is "in the now" and of limited duration the need for trust beyond the now is removed. So long as the leader inspires confidence among the followers, their leadership will persist. When the confidence goes, so does the leader?
2. As leadership is, apparently, of limited duration the trust aspect is irrelevant to its effectiveness.
I suppose now the relationship between Confidence and Trust will be under the microscope?

Trust and the Player
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States, Premium Member
@Andrew Blaine: Speaking only for myself, as a leader, the element of trust is thrust outwards and unto the players I am trying to influence. Whether they trust me or not isn't nearly as important to me as to whether they trust themselves and each other, especially in their capacity to direct their skills talents and cunning to the task at hand.
It has been my experience that, when the players in the game recognize that I trust them, they come to trust the enterprise I might propose, simply because it is within their ken to accomplish, or, if it isn't apparent, they are willing to take the leap of faith necessary to exceed their own expectations.
Trust is of the essence. If your ego has a high need for a total investment of trust directed towards you before the fact, the performance of your organization becomes limited by the limits of your ego. Mission,Men,Self v/ Me, Myself & I.

Trust and Leadership
Borje Vickberg, Sweden, Member
To be a leader you need to have followers. Leadership is not a position, it is a relation.
A leader should be able to see the actual qualities of his or her followers. A leader should see the potential positive qualities of the followers. A leader should also see the negative aspects and risks of each follower.
Since it is a relation, there is an equally important vice versa aspect of this. The followers should behold the same towards the leader.
But beware, 'beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder' (Editor: ~the perception of beauty is subjective).

Why Trust is So Important in Leadership
Arif ur Rehman, Professor, Pakistan, Member
@Borje Vickberg: Beauty does indeed lie in the ‘eyes of the beholder’ and rightfully so.
Since management is nothing short of a trapeze artist’s performance without a net, what cannot be overlooked is the resilience and balance that stem from leader’s integrity and work ethics.
That ‘acceptance’ level of employees vis-à-vis the leader’s leading role keeps continually augmenting with his altitude of trust. Therefore trust, honesty and integrity are simply irreplaceable.

Trust, Leadership and Esprit de Corps
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States, Premium Member
@Arif ur Rehman: I agree. Peter Vaiil wrote Management is Performance Art. The title is the best part of the book. Trust is a two way street and Esprit de Corps is the single most violated principle of management in the American corporate community. Showing up for work is an act of upwards loyalty and loyalty is a metric of Esprit de Corps.
When management lays off people to satisfy a Wall Street analyst as a strategy to maximize executive compensation, that is an act of downward disloyalty and a violation of the principle of Esprit de Corps.
By definition, Esprit de Corps represents an opportunity loss that can only be recaptured by the worker by continued employment, wage equity and deferred rewards such as health care and pensions. These are issues executives ensure for themselves.
When it is done at the expense of their subordinates, they are violating Esprit de Corps and a violation of the social contract in a Free Enterprise milieu as opposed to the Bolshevik milieu.

Lack of Trust and Leadership
Borje Vickberg, Sweden, Member
@Arif ur Rehman: Wise words. Lack of trust, honesty and integrity can not be compensated by authoritarian behaviour or bullying. However, attempts to do so are not infrequent...

The Turnaround of Bullying Leaders
Arif ur Rehman, Professor, Pakistan, Member
@Borje Vickberg: The five fingers are all unequal – we will always come across ‘bullying behavior’ and the authoritarian approach; such ‘leaders’ may be found regularly.
What needs to be remembered, though, whatever another’s ‘uncompromising’ style or stance is, the solution lies with yourself - ever holding on to the spirit of a charismatic leader, even employing charismatic communication in the process.
This approach, pepped with some empathy, will turn the tables around in your favor.

Patience and Persistence in the Turn Around
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States, Premium Member
@Arif ur Rehman: It is important to remember that the lack of goodwill and constructive intent of an opponent are not a personal failing, but must, nevertheless, be accommodated.
Persistence and patience allow the leader to expand the time frame to the advantage of his/her agenda, which may include a common vision with the opponent. Something Edward de Bono demonstrates can be achieved through design by parallel thinking in a deliberate process of lateral thinking.

Patience & Persistence Along the Road
Arif ur Rehman, Professor, Pakistan, Member
@Tom Wilson: Entirely true, Tom! Patient persistence and perseverance – though often demanding a long timeline-- nonetheless, bring about the desired element of connectivity.
And, as rightly pointed out by deBono’s parallel and lateral thinking approaches, much is achieved, but what still needs to be the guiding principle is not to compromise on the absolute and core values on which the strategy is designed. This equation always transcends ‘jerks’ and ‘fractures’ one may receive on how so uneven the road.

Loyalty, Trust and Esprit de Corps and Leadership
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa, Member
There seems to be three inter-related concepts that supply the thread through this discussion:
- Loyalty is the giving of oneself to a "cause" (in the widest possible connotation). It can be bought, brought about by threat, or given.
- Trust is the confident belief that the object of trust will act favourably towards oneself. It cannot be bought and can only be given.
- Esprit de Corps is the feeling of belonging to a "cause".
These three are different and, while they are often related, they are neither interchangeable nor mutually dependent.
I think, and hope this will clarify the situation? Trust still does not form an essential part of leadership!

Trust is the Essence of Leadership
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States, Premium Member
@Andrew Blaine: Andrew, it is hard to be as far wrong as you manage to be in your last sentence. Esprit de Corps is, literally, the spirit of the body, that is, the membership of the organization. It arises from the trust between the members, up and down the chain of command, such as it is.
This trust manifests as loyalty, but will often persist even when the trust has been violated and the esprit has disintegrated as a residual of a sentimental ideal preserved by the bearer as a buffer against his or her own disillusion or embrace of a happier time.
In an enterprise where obedience is compelled by legal authority, trust may be missing and the command structures still functioning, but leadership as a dynamic relationship ceases to exist in any sense beyond purely doing what you are told do in an operational milieu, which seems to be your preference.


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