On Matters of Leadership

"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Peter F. Drucker

Several weeks ago, while trolling Groups to join on LinkedIn, I came across a group that piqued my interest; Leaders and Thinkers. The site manager had also posted a number of excellent questions on the subject of Trust and Leadership asking: Is there a correlation between trust and authentic leadership? Would we follow leaders we don't trust? Do all leaders deserve trust and should all leaders trust everyone?

Below is my truncated stab at a response to the questions. What's your opinion on the subject?

Trust is never implicit with leadership, it must be earned. While there are leaders who might exhibit qualities that could be defined as "authentic," the true test of their metier as "authentic leaders" will depend on how well they handle crisis situations and life's un-pleasantries.

It is infinitely easy to put on a show and be followed as a leader when all the klieg lights are shining on your accomplishments and everyone wants to be like you. It is not so easy when there is a presumption of mistrust and lack in leadership by your constituents and you must now convince them that you are still in charge.

In theory, the correlation between trust and authentic leadership could be viewed as sacrosanct; inherently necessary to the role. Yet, in reality, we have all been privy to leaders who neither cared about earning our trust nor dwelled on the responsibility and sacredness of their role.

Naturally, I hope given the choice, most of us would choose to never elect or follow leaders we do not trust. However, all of us happen to live in societies or work in environments where, from time to time, untrustworthy leaders are foisted upon us. I have deliberately made this an "all of us" inclusive experience because exposure to incompetent, untrustworthy leadership is a universal construct. It is not unique to banana republics or oligarchies.

Do all leaders deserve trust; should all leaders trust everyone? The answer here is an unequivocal NO! Again, trust must be earned on both sides of the fence so the point behind that question is moot.

Ultimately, each of us must develop our own guiding principles or precepts on leadership. If, as John Wooden said eons ago, character is what you do when the lights are turned off and no one is watching, then it is imperative that authentic leadership be viewed through the lens of character.

Solon said it well... "Put more trust in nobility of character than in an oath (of office). "

Until Next Time...
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank

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