“Show me the way!”
That is what we need leaders to do for us when we are sailing through rough waters.
They need to know how to get through the storms of life, and we need to know they are both competent and trustworthy.
No one will follow you if you are lost or have failed to live in a way that demonstrates you are worthy of trust.
We each move between the roles of followers and leaders. That is unavoidable, regardless of your place or title in your family, neighborhood, religious group, social organization, or corporate setting.
The trust we would like to be able to put in those we are following is the same trust others would like to be able to put in us when we are leading.
As a leader, at the very least, that means you will do what you say from keeping a commitment to keeping confidential information private.
The best time for building trust is before the crisis comes. It is never too late to start, but it is best to have a solid track record before the storm strikes.
If that has not been the case, you can’t begin sincerely asking for forgiveness too soon.
Great leaders know that if they have failed, followers will learn the truth. That was the case decades ago during the scandal in the Nixon administration.
Watergate put an end to Richard Nixon’s presidency. Historians say it was not because of the break-in at the Watergate complex in DC. Instead, it was because of the coverup that followed.
It is best to confess before the failure becomes known. Otherwise, you may appear sorry that what you did or failed to do was exposed, not because you regret what you did.
Acknowledging you were wrong and asking forgiveness is one of the strongest and rarest acts of leadership you can demonstrate!
Looking back, you lead by:
- Recognizing what you have done that undermined trust.
- Asking for “forgiveness.”
Looking forward, you lead by:
- Telling the other person, you are seeking to be worthy of her or his trust and asking for help. (“If I say anything you doubt to be true, please question me about it or correct me.”)
- Speaking the truth.
Before speaking, ask yourself, “What would I say about this if I knew the other person had firsthand knowledge of the situation and the facts I am describing?”
Stay safe and courageous!
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