Be A Leader – Hold Yourself To A Higher Standard – Reason #85

Reason #85 out of my leadership ebook, 101 Reasons To Be A Passionate Leader: Why Developing Your Leadership Is Critical Today! is one of my favorites. And represents a necessary leadership competency that can be challenging pushing leadership development to the uncomfortable zone.

C.K. Prahalad, Distinguished Professor of Strategy at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business shares the following with his MBA and executive education participants:

“…Managers must remember that they are the custodians of society’s most powerful institutions. They must therefore hold themselves to a higher standard. Managers must strive to achieve success with responsibility.”

Here are a few of his remarks:
• Be concerned about due process. People seek fairness – not favors. They want to be heard.
• Learn to relate to those who are less fortunate.
• Expect to be judged by what you do and how well you do it – not by what you day you want to do.

Trust – You Know It When You Feel It

In answer to the question, “what is trust?”, this is a quote by Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, “[Y]ou know it when you feel it.”

When I read this in Speed of Trust, I immediately could relate. There is this rumbling, anxious feeling when no trust is present. I hesitate. There is a open, connected feeling when trust is present. I share. Over the last few months, probably as a result of the experiences I had at the organization which virtually crumbled in front of my eyes, I have had a keen interest in trust and its impact. Looking at myself, others and organizations, I have been listening, reading and discussing this topic of trust. Even last Sunday at church, the message was about trust.

Learning how to create trust in a low trust world, as Stephen M.R. Covey speaks about, will help us navigate with more confidence and will make an enormous difference in both our personal and professional life.

For you and I as individuals, Covey explains that both character and competence are necessary. Effective leaders today must know how to balance character and competence. Effective leaders must model trust and show trust. When most of us think about character, we think of it in terms of being a good or sincere person, being honest and having integrity. This is how most of us would describe trust. Yet after reflecting on Covey’s writings, I began to understand how trust is a function of character and competence. Covey explains how both are vital:Leadership confidence

Character includes your integrity, your motive, your intent with people. Competence includes your capabilities, your skills, your results, your track record. And both are vital.

As I explore this aspect of trust by asking “Who do I trust?, Why do I trust them? and What inspires my confidence in them?” and “Who trusts me?, Why do they trust me? and What is it about me that inspires their confidence in me?,” I really understand how character and competence are intertwined. In my role as an executive, I recall many times, when I had an employee who was of good character; however, I would not trust them to do a particular project because they lacked the set of skills or track record of results to effectively handle it. I also recall situations when an employee had a track record of results and yet they left me feeling suspicious of their motives and I questioned their honesty. Covey further explains that,

Character is constant; it’s necessary for trust in any circumstance. Competence is situational; it depends on what the circumstance requires.

Understanding and being more aware of these aspects as a foundation for trust will certainly make a difference as I lead and continue to build the necessary relationships for my success, my business success and the success of my team. As many of you who have worked with me know, I place a high importance of really defining and communicating your leadership values (character) as well as knowing your strengths and accomplishments (competence). So take a moment to ask yourself these questions: Who do you trust? Who trusts me? How is my character and my competence affecting my relationships? It is worth your time to do so!

Tom Peters Ranting on Leaders Not Listening

Effective Listening is a critical skill all leaders must practice. Leaders in every field – Automotive, Government, Education, Healthcare – and at every level – CEO, VP, Director, Manager, Project Leader. It doesn’t matter where you are in the leadership chain. I believe listening is a very powerful skill for leaders to master. I coach, train, write and speak about listening. My Leadership Power Tips cover this skill and I have written articles on the topic: Listening – The Key to Effective Communication.

I am delighted to see that Tom Peters is speaking out about Listening as one of his current rants. I thought you would also enjoy seeing his video –


Listen Intently and Strategically. A critical leadership competency: Listening!

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