Leadership principles are important for every person to learn. Whether they are a child learning what it means to be a part of a team or a CEO striving to positively impact a business, every person must learn certain aspects of being in leadership. What, then, is the most important aspect to learn about being a leader? Many will say a leader must have courage, or a leader must be a clear communicator. Others may argue that transparency is key, or that a leader must have a vision. While all these characteristics help a leader to achieve a high level of success, I would argue the most important aspect of leadership is trust. Without trust, relationships break up, organizations fail, and businesses go bankrupt. With trust, however, everything thrives. Relationships blossom, organizations are successful, and businesses flourish.
How, then, do leaders increase their trust factor? First, be authentic. No one likes a fake, and no one likes a hypocrite. Be real, be genuine, and tell the truth in ways that can be proven. This allows others to know their leader better.
Second, be respectful. Treat those around you how you want to be treated. Be kind, fair, and show civility in all things. It takes a certain amount of humility and discernment to be respectful, but in the long run, those around you will be more willing to approach you with their ideas and short falls because they know they will receive the right kind of response that leads to success and growth.
Third, produce results. Establish a reputation and track record of getting the right things done. You are not looking to get anything done, but the right things done. Accomplish the things you are tasked, hired, or expected to do. On top of that, continually improve, learn, and change for the better.
Fourth, have courage. Take the tough issues head on with confidence in finding the corrective actions. Have the courage to share the bad news along with the good. Be brave enough to confidently share vision and establish agreement up front.
Finally, ensure accountability. Hold yourself accountable first and others accountable as well. Be an active listener and actually listen with the purpose of learning. When communicating, do what you say you are going to do. If something changes, communicate it clearly. All in all, everyone can build trust if they are willing to learn and grow these trust behaviors.
Being a leader is a responsibility. It is a responsibility that is built on trust. As leaders of all different types, we are not responsible for the results. We are responsible for the people who, in turn, are responsible for the results. As leaders, we must grow the most important aspect of leadership: Trust. Are we willing to establish and learn these behaviors? If we want to lead successfully, then resounding answer should be Yes.
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