In previous parts of this series, we looked at leadership, the commitment it requires, and the first three of four universal promises of leadership. The first promise was the promise to set a clear direction and create meaningful work for the organization you lead. The second was the promise to engage all stakeholders and hold them accountable for performance. The third was the promise to ensure your strategies, systems and processes facilitate focus and execution.
Now we will look at promise four.
The Fourth Universal Promise
You will lead effectively by maintaining relationships of trust to achieve and sustain results.
Why would someone want to follow you? The answer is trust. In order to keep the first three promises of leadership, you must value the priceless currency of relationships built upon trust.
Trust is one of the most difficult concepts for sociologists to describe and define. Two exceptional thought leaders on trust in our culture said this:
Steven M. R. Covey: “Trust lives at the intersection of character and competence.”
Rachel Botsman: “Trust is a confident relationship with the unknown.”
Because trust builds confidence and frees up hearts and minds to commit, it forms the basis for a thriving practice culture and draws out the inherent potential of your team (their individual talents, energy and passion). Traditionally, I focused my energy on building trust.
Rachel Botsman proposed that in creating a culture built on trust, we would be served better by focusing on becoming more trustworthy. Rachel’s idea hit me hard. It was spot on. Trust demands the best that we have to offer. Perhaps, it demands all that we have to offer. It is the secret sauce of why people decide to surrender themselves to the great vision you offer.
If you take one thing away from this, take away a renewed devotion to becoming a more trustworthy person. You will likely find that your aspirational identity shows up with more clarity, courage, conviction and compassion.
And So, Back to Clarity
People follow leaders they trust by surrendering to a compelling vision that engages their hearts and minds. Others will trust your vision if you are clear, courageous, have conviction, and are compassionate. These are the building blocks of a shared (collective) style of operation and leadership in which each individual in the organization contributes, benefits and leads. This is relevant to your patients (clients) as well as the team you lead.
As I end this series, I leave you with my belief that developing and elevating your leadership competencies is the best investment you can make. Effective leaders who deliver on the four universal promises of leadership create strong cultures that outperform average cultures by multiples, not percentages, in every measurable dimension over time.