Of all the attributes leaders need, trustworthiness may be the most important. Followers will not commit to leaders they cannot trust. In a work situation, if there is no trust, the boss is just a boss, not a leader. When people do not trust their bosses they often find other jobs, and those who stay often do so grudgingly.
Leaders demonstrate their trustworthiness through five kinds of behaviors:
- They tell the truth as they understand it–they do not simply agree with two people with conflicting opinions just to keep the peace. Most lies eventually come to the surface, so trustworthy leaders stick to the truth and do not shade the facts to make themselves look better or to avoid difficult situations.
- They do what they promise. If a situation arises where leaders cannot follow through with their promises, they need to explain to their team members what has happened and what they plan to do about it. They must think carefully about how failing to keep a promise will affect certain people.
- They keep confidences to themselves. Trustworthy leaders know sharing confidential information is hurtful and unprofessional.
- They speak and act for the greater good. Sometimes this requires leaders to be tough to bring about changes they believe will benefit their organizations in the long run. In such cases, trustworthy leaders explain what they are doing and why.
- They are capable and get results. While the other four behaviors reflect aspects of leaders’ characters, the fifth reflects their competence to do their jobs. Leaders who are lacking in the skills and capabilities required for their jobs should put effort into building their capabilities through training or coaching. When it comes to results, leaders should be careful never to promise more than they are certain they can deliver.
Business leaders can be generous by sharing the success of their companies materially in the form of raises or bonuses, but there are many other ways to be generous. Followers appreciate it when leaders share credit, knowledge, and power, for instance. Being generous in attitude, by assuming that people act with positive intent, also creates a positive atmosphere in the workplace, making followers feel good and motivating them to do their best work.
Sharing power and authority by delegating responsibility is difficult for many managers. Delegation requires more than assigning tasks; it involves giving employees responsibility for certain segments of work. Andersen outlines a three-step process for delegation:
- Preparation: The manager defines the area of responsibility to be handed off and how much autonomy the employee will have.
- Discussion and agreement: The manager and employee reach an understanding of how the hand-off will take place. To help an employee develop new skills, a manager can designate different areas of responsibility in which he or she has higher or lower confidence of the employee’s ability to perform. The manager can require different levels of reporting for the high-confidence and low-confidence areas.
- Support: The manager gives the employee feedback. As the worker demonstrates more skill, the manager will hand over more responsibility or reduce oversight for those areas.
Generous leaders hand out praise, credit, positive feedback, and rewards to make employees feel valued and to inspire them to work harder. They also ensure that employees have the resources they need to do their jobs properly, including training, technology, and a safe place to work.
In folk tales, courage often involves facing a physical threat, but in a business situation, making a difficult choice requires a different kind courage. Business leaders often have to decide on a course of action without having access to all the facts or the time to gather extensive data. They have to commit to their decisions and take responsibility for the consequences.
The ability to make difficult choices is not an easy characteristic to develop. Many people are tempted to make excuses and find reasons not to make decisions or follow through. Courageous leaders rely on trusted advisers to help them determine the best course of action and develop positive self-talk, or mental monologue skills, regarding their ability to decide.
Courageous leaders put themselves at risk for the good of their enterprises. They are willing to support unpopular positions when they think it is the right thing to do, and they are willing to speak up when expressing their opinions could potentially have negative consequences. They might be risking their jobs if they make the wrong decisions, but they always do what they think is right. Followers would much rather see this attitude than to work for leaders who would sacrifice others to preserve their own jobs.
Leaders also show courage by taking full responsibility for their actions. Leaders who make excuses or blame others, on the other hand, disappoint their followers and end up with employees who expend a lot of effort to make sure their bosses cannot blame them if something goes wrong.You can attend out Leadership session by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://prismphilosophy.com/about/
Courageous bosses understand the art of apologizing by:
*Saying, “I am sorry.”
*Speaking in the first person rather than the second person (which puts the blame onto others).
*Not making excuses.
*Explaining how they will fix problems.
*Following through on their commitments to change.