Leaders to Leader

Lessons from the Great American Leaders & How They Apply Now

Can You Be Trusted? The Answer May Surprise You

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There is a need to restore sound and ethical leadership. The mantle of leadership must be reestablished. Customers, boards, stakeholders and employees must clamber for it and demand full accountability. This is accomplished one individual at a time, by electing or appointing the ones who possess the vision, integrity, courage, empathy, humility, commitment and confidence needed to transform their organizations. This starts with trust and ethical behavior, and there is a serious problem in both of these areas.

“According to the Deloitte LLP 2010 Ethics & Workplace Survey, the recession has diminished two important forms of business currency—trust and ethics. Nearly half (48%) of employed Americans who plan to look for a new job when the economy is more stable cite a loss of trust in their employer as a result of how business and operational decisions were handled over the last two years as a reason for leaving; 46% of them say a lack of transparent leadership communication will drive them to seek new employment opportunities. Executives also believe that trust (65%) and transparency (48%) will be leading factors in voluntary turnover in the coming months.

Interestingly, the survey shows a disconnect between executives and employers around the issues of trust and ethics in the workplace. Executives claim to be considering the impact of their business decisions on the ethical behavior of the workforce during the economic downturn, however 31% of employees say that their colleagues are more likely to behave unethically at work in this environment.”[1]

Jon Huntsman, CEO of Huntsman Chemical states: “As captains of our own character, it is essential we understand the great legacy of trust and integrity. We will be remembered for truthful disclosures and promises kept.”[2]

Trust has a synergetic relationship with credibility. If either one is missing or diminished, so is the other. Some of the elements that build trust with key constituencies include competence, reliability, courage, conviction, empathy and respect. These elements result in trust in the leader as a person, his or her abilities, and belief in whether whatever he or she does or says is something that can be relied upon. Within the range of these relationships, key constituencies may trust the leader, but not his or her abilities to complete a task or assignment. In other instances, since the leader has no credibility, there is no faith or confidence in anything that he or she does.

[1] The Deloitte LLP 2010 Ethics & Workplace Survey (Deloitte LLP) August, 2010
[2] Jon M. Huntsman, Winners Never Cheat Even in Difficult Times (Wharton School Publishing, 2009) p 93

Excerpt: Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, What They Did and How They Did It (Majorium Business Press, 2011)

If you would like to learn more about the ethical leadership of the great American leaders through their own inspiring words and stories, refer to Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It. It illustrates how great leaders built great companies, and how you can apply the strategies, concepts and techniques that they pioneered to improve your own leadership skills. Click here to learn more.

Copyright © 2011 Timothy F. Bednarz All Rights Reserved

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Written by Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D.

June 28, 2011 at 11:44 am

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