In this 21 part series, based on John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, I’m taking you on a journey towards better leadership. I share with you my own leadership lessons and insights. As a John Maxwell Team Member I’ll be happy to deliver transformational leadership training for your team or organization. See the details below.
Part 6 of 21: The Law of Solid Ground
The Law of Solid Ground: Trust is the foundation of leadership. ~ John C. Maxwell
Trust is the glue that holds an organization together. Leaders cannot repeatedly break trust with people and continue to influence them. Trust is the foundation of leadership.
No matter what country you live in, what organization you are part of or what religion you belong to. If you don’t earn trust of your people, you can’t influence them. Growing up in communist country, I’ve seen people in position using power to scare people into doing things they wanted them to do. This is not the high level leadership we’re discussing here. Yes, it’s much easier to scare people into obedience or force them into action you desire. But beware, their hearts won’t follow.
When it comes to leadership, you can’t take shortcuts, no matter how long you’ve been leading people. Decisions need to be done the right way.
John Maxwell compares trust to change in a leader’s pocket. Each time you make good leadership decisions, you earn more change. Each time you make poor decisions, you pay out some of your change to the people. Whatever you do either builds up your change or depletes it. If you make one bad decision after another, you keep paying out change. Then one day, after making one last bad decision, you suddenly run out of change. When you’re out of change, you’re out as the leader.
How does a leader build trust? By consistently exemplifying competence, connection, and character. People will forgive you occasional mistakes, especially if you’re new and still in a learning process. But they won’t overlook flaws in your character.
Whenever you lead people, it’s like you take them on a journey with you. The quality of the trip is predicted by your character. With good character, the longer the trip, the better it seems. But if your character is flawed, the longer the trip, the worse it gets. Why? Because no one enjoys spending time with someone they don’t trust.
There are many things your character communicates to others. Let’s have a look at the top three:
Leaders without good character can’t be counted on day after day because their ability to perform changes constantly. If you want to become a great leader, you need to learn the art of consistency. Always give your best in spite of circumstances. Consistency builds trust. If people know that you can be trusted no matter what happens, they will follow your lead.
Poor character is like a time bomb ticking away. It’s only a matter of time before it blows up a persona’s ability to perform and the capacity to lead. Talent is never enough. We’ve seen many talented people fade because of their character flaws.
If you want to go far and above as a leader, remember that the journey starts with you. Be honest with yourself and choose to improve your character. Invest in yourself! Not just your skills and knowledge, but your character. Start with these three areas: integrity, authenticity and discipline.
- Integrity – make a commitment to yourself to be brutally honest. Don’t shave the truth, don’t tell white lies, don’t tweak the numbers. Be truthful even when it hurts.
- Authenticity – discover yourself and choose to be yourself with everyone. Stop pretending to be who you are not.
- Discipline – do the right things every day regardless of how you feel.
Choose to not die without making the most out of what’s been given to you!
Respect is not a given. It’s not a right. You can’t demand it. You earn it. You earn it the hard way on a regular continual basis. Leaders earn respect by making sound decisions, admitting their mistakes and by putting what’s best for their followers (organization) ahead of their personal agendas.
One more comment on the topic of respect. There’s a difference between respect and honor. We honor people for what they’ve done in the past. Respect is for what you’re doing today. It’s better to have respect than honor! Wake up every morning ready to earn respect.Wake up every morning ready to earn respect. Click To Tweet
This article is part of a 21-part leadership series.
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To your success,
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