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Leadership: On Matters of Trust and Authenticity

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“To leave the world a better place … to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leadership: When in doubt, consult your conscience and constituents.

“He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain.” (2 Sam 23: 3-4)

Leadership: Leading with Vision to Victory…

A year ago or so, as I was updating my page on the professional networking site – LinkedIn, I came across a group that piqued my interest; Leaders and Thinkers. The site manager, my dear friend Benjamin Anyacho – author of “Bold, Fresh Wine: A Cry for Sustainable Transforming Revival”, 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?

I pondered the questions and responded. Later on, I posted a version of my response on my Blogger blog. Today, I revisit this topic because I believe that no matter where you are on the leadership ladder, the hot seat of influence, the food chain of authority as it were, at the bottom or the top, you can make a difference in the lives of others.

Lead: Pay it Forward!

The Sunshine Award
Before I go any further, I’d like to thank Melissa for nominating my blog for a pay-it-forward sunshine award. There are loads of bloggers who deserve this thoughtful gift that it’s hard to list all. If you see the following comment on your blog: You’ve won a pay-it-forward blog award! You can claim it at: Sunshine Blog Award, it means you won.
On an important note, the Sunshine Award honors and supports bloggers. The goal is to take the lead in paying the goodwill forward by honoring twelve bloggers including the person who nominated you.
First some ground rules:
1. Nominate 12 bloggers.
2. Put the award logo (daisy flower) onto your sidebar or within a post.
3. Link the nominees within your post.
4. Let the nominees know they’ve received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and, if feasible, link the sidebar logo to the person from whom you’ve received this award.

Okay, and the Sunshine blogging Oscars go to… Melissa for generously sharing her sunshine and expatriate life; Deana for her supportive baby boomer spirit and blog; Dori for her heartwarming commentaries from her yellow house in England; Radha for sharing her shining creativity and humorous Baby Boomer Girl; Iyabo for coaching with love and enthusiasm; Emma for her infectious positivity and goodwill; Liz for her deeply reflective blog and kind spirit; Kaishon for beautiful photos and a beautiful life; Carol for offering such wonderful pampering tips to keep us all blissful and youthful; Megumi for being such a gracious blogger and beacon of light; Judy Rey for her inspired art and openness; and Siddhali Shree for her spiritual insights and goodwill. I have to add my lucky 13th, Rose, for her grace and goodwill or I will be remiss. The Sunshine Award exemplifies the spirit of leadership, motivation and goodwill. Congratulations all! Why don’t you lead the pack by sending out an award? Steal the flower!

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

Leadership: Nature Rules…


“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” Stephen Covey
“I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. When we get lazy, as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics.” Barack Obama

Clearly, good leadership requires qualities such as trust, authenticity, vision, integrity, and service. To lead, you must learn to serve. To lead effectively, you must examine your motivations and then decide what type of leader you will be. Some lead to make a difference, others lead for sheer power and position, a few have it foisted upon them, and yet another group lead for self discovery. How we lead is a choice we all get to make.

Certainly, one could write a dissertation on the topic but that is not what a blog is for; so below is my truncated response to the questions. What’s your opinion or experience on the subject? What type of leader do you aspire to become?

“Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.” Marian Anderson

Leadership Puzzle: Motivate your team to success…

“A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.” Jim Rohn
“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” St. Augustine

Trust is never implicit with leadership, it must be earned. 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.

Authenticity is not a given in leadership either as inauthentic leaders can conceal their real motives and character by machinations that gain them the support of many. While there are leaders who exhibit qualities that could be defined as “authentic,” the true test of their métier as “authentic leaders” will depend on how well they handle crisis situations and life’s daily un-pleasantries.

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.

More Below!

“Where there is no leadership the people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14)

Leadership: By consensus on the pyramid not by fiat

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory; when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” Nelson Mandela

“Leaders of the future will have to be visionary and be able to bring people in – real communicators. These are things that women bring to leadership and executive positions, and it’s going to be incredibly valuable and incredibly in demand.” Anita Borg

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 only 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.

“I think a major act of leadership right now, call it a radical act, is to create the places and processes so people can actually learn together, using our experiences.” Margaret J. Wheatley

Global Leadership: Change is good … Dictatorship is dangerous…

“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” Theodore M. Hesburgh
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him. But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves.” Lao-Tzu

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).”

No matter how good our intentions are as leaders, we must always go back to examine our character and the original prompting that led us to lead. Power can be an incredibly corrupting influence and it takes grace and character to remain humble while we serve. I send blessings to all who lead and serve humanity with a good heart. What is your definition of leadership or favorite leadership quote? What are your thoughts? Do Share! Thank you!

PHOTO CREDITS: All Photos on Leadership ~ via Google Images

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

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Bree permalink
    26/04/2010 3:31 am

    Great post! You are waxing philosophical now and I love it. The variety of content and writings bring me back for more.
    Leadership is an impt topic especially in our global community where many are suffering the consequences of the theft and abuse of our natural resources.
    I love the quotes above and imagine you wanted to add more. I love the quote “To leadn you must first serve.”
    Keep it up!

    • 26/04/2010 3:40 pm

      Thank you Bree for your feedback.
      I wrote it last year and reworked it for this post period. With all the global issues we face today, effective leadership remains an important topic.
      Cheers, 😉

  2. 26/04/2010 2:34 pm

    John Wooden had it right about leadership…he knew how to blend talents and bring out the best in each team member. A great man, and a nice blog – as always…lots to digest and plenty to take along with me on my path…thanks – write more on this topic!!!

    • 26/04/2010 3:41 pm

      Thank you RB for your comments and Yes, I love John Wooden’s quote. It is spot-on. 🙂

  3. 26/04/2010 5:01 pm

    I loved reading this post. I’ll struggle with being humble when I am in a leadership position. I also struggle with delegating responsibilities as it is difficult for me to trust others with a job, when I have confidence that I could do a better job than someone else. I learned a lot from your post. Thank you. Found you on SITS. I’ll definitely be back.

    • 27/04/2010 4:06 pm

      Thank you Liz for your comments.
      Your points are well taken as we all have areas in our leadership styles that need work.
      Happy SITS Day and I will visit your blog too. 🙂

  4. Goz permalink
    27/04/2010 3:19 pm

    I’m reminded of a passage in the Bible where Jesus knelt down to wash His disciples’ feet..a task in the jewish culture of those days, usually reserved for the lowest ranked member of household staff. No better example of true leadership by humble service exists, in my opinion.

    • 27/04/2010 4:11 pm

      Thank you Goz,
      I agree. Jesus set the standard for leadership by example and humility.
      Thanks again for your support and feedback; always appreciated.
      E 🙂

  5. 28/04/2010 3:35 am

    Thank you for nominating me for the sunshine award! You are so nice. Unfortunately I don’t even know 12 blogs yet – I am very new to blogging and do not quite have time to do the social networking thing and write on my blog… I probably should not have joined the sits… Anyways, thanks for visiting my site and I’ll try to send the award on eventually!

  6. Cassie permalink
    28/04/2010 11:26 am

    Leadership is an important topic and covers all forms of leadership; be it as a parent, a boss, a teacher or a politician. We are all affected by both good and bad leadership. Looking at the global economy and all the problems in the world today, we can say we need more blessed leaders on this planet. Thank you for this different style. Wish I had a blog to get a floral award 😉

  7. 28/04/2010 12:56 pm

    Wow. What a well written post. I LOVE your quotes and references. Excellent! So nice to visit tonight.

  8. 29/04/2010 8:03 pm

    Thank you so much for passing this wonderful award along to me. I’m so honored that you thought of me 🙂 I will pay it forward very soon. Also, what a great post. Your insights are so intriguing.

    Have a wonderful weekend:-)

  9. 01/05/2010 2:23 am

    This is a great post! Thanks for sharing. I think trusting our leaders is very important.

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

  10. 01/05/2010 2:50 am

    Awww, thank you again Eliz! 🙂

    And I completely agree that trust is necessary when it comes to leadership!

  11. 01/05/2010 6:27 am

    Great article, I hope I can learn much information about it!

  12. 01/05/2010 5:17 pm

    Thank you all for your feedback and enthusiasm. You are inspired folk, leading with light and I am grateful to benefit from it.
    Have a blessed week ahead! 🙂


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