Trustworthiness is frequently listed among corporate core values and leadership competencies, but it is not always easily defined or understood. I think Rob Roy, former Navy Seal and Founder of SOT-G, an executive leadership and team development company staffed by former members of the Special Forces, captured the essence of trustworthiness in a recent interview with Inc. Magazine.
. . . a great leader is someone who is going to step up at a difficult moment and make that next decision. He’ll go into it blind, but people will follow him, because they’ll know he always has their best interests in mind.
Do those you are leading believe this about you? Or do they perceive you to be a person blinded by your own agenda or ambition, or insecure to the point that you fail to stand up for your team, or an attention-seeker, taking rather than sharing credit, while reserving the glory roles or assignments for yourself?
Those questions are not easily answered. Your good intentions mean little when it comes to how you are perceived as a leader. What counts are consistent actions, decisions and behaviors that, over time, send the clear message that you are acting in their interests; that the mission is worthy of their sacrifice; that you are there to equip and empower them to achieve what they may have thought to be impossible; and that you are sure to credit them for the successes for which you are frequently praised.
This kind of trust is gained over time, and lost over night. If you have it, guard it carefully. If you don’t yet have it, examine your actions and decisions to understand how they are being perceived, and make the adjustments. Having a fully engaged team is always beneficial, but absolutely invaluable when it is time to take the next big hill.