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Leaders Have to be Trustworthy

Updated: Nov 13, 2020

The following words of Poet Goethe are possibly an excellent piece of advice to people who want to take lessons on leadership:

Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is and treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and as he should be.

In a group it is important for a leader to deal with his members in the way they deserve. Very often leaders who acquire leadership by virtue of their authority deal with their members as if their leadership is a divine power. In such cases, the moment the authority or power lapses, their rapport with the members also lapses. They do not continue to enjoy any goodwill among the other members of the team. It is important that leaders should understand their team members and trust them. Trust is a great motivator and the moment the members come to know the trust of their leader, they go out to fulfill the obligations with commitment as they would like to be worthy of the trust reposed on them.

George Macdonald said:

"It is a greater compliment to be trusted than loved."

Likewise, the trustworthiness of the leaders is an important dimension of their profile. If the leaders are not trustworthy the glow of their profile gradually declines among the team members. Leaders who tend to be opportunistic and exploit the confidence and trust of their followers have often met a great fall. History has abundant episodes to prove the fall of such untrustworthy leaders.

In a workplace, it is not necessary for a leader to prove periodically that he is trustworthy. But timely simple actions which are objective, unselfish, benign and humane are good enough as milestones in their journey.

A good leader has to introspect periodically whether he continues to enjoy the trust of his teammates. If not, he should ponder on what small steps could be taken towards enhancing the trustworthiness?


About the author

G. Balasubramanian is the Chairperson of Board of Adivsors to International Council for School Leadership (ICSL)


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