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Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you’re going to do. Your credibility can be built over time. People will learn to trust you from the history of your words and actions.
– Maria Razumich-Zec
The first job of any leader is to inspire trust. So what is trust?
In simple words trust is “the reliance or dependence of the followers on the credibility of the leader.”
Two pillars, character and competence, uphold the foundation of trust.
Both of these pillars are important for trust to sustain and for a leader to earn his credibility.
You might think a leader to be honest and sincere, but you will not trust that leader if he or she does not deliver. On the flip side a leader may have skills, commitment and can deliver but is not honest, so you are not going to trust that leader either.
A leader focuses on creating trust as an explicit object. It becomes a goal to focus on and improved upon by him and makes it possible for those who follow him.
The true transformation starts with building credibility at the personal level. A leader’s reputation is a great reflection of his credibility and it precedes him in any interaction and negotiation.
When a leader’s credibility and reputation are high it enables him to establish trust fast. A leader’s high credibility translates into the organization and the followers are held to a higher standard of accountability to perform. Thus improving the overall performance of an organization and establishing its trustworthiness in the outside world.
To establish trust, it is the job of the leader to go first, to extend trust first. Not a blind trust without expectations and accountability, but rather a “smart trust” with clear expectations and strong accountability built into the process.
A leader always leads out with a decided propensity to trust, as opposed to a propensity not to trust. As Craig Weatherup, former CEO of Pepsi Company said ”Trust cannot become a trust multiplier unless the leader is prepared to go first.”
So how can we achieve more trust in a leader and the organization?
It is natural to say that you cannot put your trust in a leader or an organization until you have assessed its trustworthiness.
So what is trustworthiness? The simple definition is “being worthy enough to be considered reliable”.
Trustworthiness is what the people have to judge. It is not something that belongs to a leader.
The only way a leader can earn trust to become trustworthy is to give the people a basis for it. There is no such thing as blind trust if a leader wants the people to follow him and do what he wants them to do unless the people consider him trustworthy.
A leader that is honest and delivers through his actions of what he says earns the trust of the people by his constant commitment to goals with good intention for the people that become obvious with time. Thus earning the reputation of being trustworthy. People want to follow a trustworthy leader, as there is basis and proof of his deliverance accompanied by his good intentions.
Moreover, trustworthiness has a ripple effect, if a leader has it. The organization will follow, thus creating a positive impact for everyone in a society.
There is a saying: “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Therefore it becomes vital for a leader to be honest and skilled — to have integrity and a good intent accompanied with commitment and deliverance towards common goals.
In conclusion, it becomes wise to have more trust in the trustworthy and no trust in the untrustworthy. Intelligently placed and intelligently refused trust should be the proper aim in life that helps an organization or society prosper.
By Ayesha Shafiq, eParisExtra
Ayesha Shafiq is the Director of Paris Cardiology Center, now in her eleventh year. She is the wife of Khalid Shafiq, M.D. and mother of their 2 children. She holds a Masters Degree in International Relations. Mrs. Shafiq runs management with the help of 22 employees.