Trust, Fear, Courage

I just read an article in USA Today about Chris Christie and his position on telling the truth.  It was interesting because the writers premise was, as a presidential candidate, he talked more about telling the truth than actually telling the truth.  Regardless what your political position is on the candidate we hear a lot of statements from our politicians on the truth, transparency and open government.  It has dawned on me, like this writer, there is mostly talk without action surrounding these topics. 

As leaders everything we do counts.  Everything we say and everything we do.  Those around us will judge our congruency of words and action every minute of everyday.  Integrity is having the courage to do the right thing when no one is watching and when your critics are watching.  We can not afford to be so afraid of the truth that all we do is talk about being truthful.

In a recent coaching session with an executive he talked about wanting people to trust him.  I asked him, “Where does trust come from?”  After a long pause he looked at me and said, “Trustworthiness!” 

He learned a very important lesson that day.  Trust is given to you based on your actions and words and even then it’s not guaranteed.  So let’s remember that trust comes from trustworthiness and trust trumps fear! 

When you are honest with your team, the truth develops trust; and over time, only trust between leader and follower will create a winning culture.  Leaders must embrace the truth, reward the truth, and most importantly, live by values based upon seeking the truth.  Seeking the truth in business simply means looking at the cold, hard facts.  No sugar coating, no kidding yourself, no deception…NONE!  Not for you and not for your team.  All this truth and overcoming fear requires one characteristic paramount in all leaders – COURAGE. 

Have you experienced a situation where you were not told the truth only to find out later you had been deceived?  I find it fascinating when a leader justifies holding back the truth to protect followers as if they were children!  Are you protecting your people from the truth?  BEWARE! It will not go well in the long run.  You have to trust your people and overcome the fear.  BE COURAGEOUS.

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.  ~ Mark Twain

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