Friday, October 10, 2008

The 13 Behaviors of Trusted Leaders

Just started reading the book The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey with Rebecca R. Merrill, not surprising there are many points relevant to the situations we are seeing today. From the Wall Street crisis to the credit debacle to the presidential race, trust is a key point that arises time after time. In addition, the rumblings surrounding these seem to be asking the same questions. Those rumblings include "we need strong leadership" and "who can we trust?". This hit home with me as I watched both the panic within the U.S. stock market and the various headlines and sound bites from the two 2008 presidential candidates.

I found a quick reference handout that briefly describes the 13 behaviors. As you read through these, think about how these apply to you and those folks we are hoping are the real leaders in the world.

  1. Talk straight -

    • Be honest.
    • Tell the truth and leave the right impression.
    • Let people know where you stand.
    • Use simple language.
    • Call things what they are.
    • Demonstrate integrity.
    • Don't manipulate people or distort facts.
    • Don't spin the truth.
    • Don't leave false impressions.

  2. Demonstrate respect -

    • Genuinely care for others.
    • Show you care.
    • Respect the dignity of every person and every role.
    • Treat everyone with respect, especially those who can't do anything for you.

  3. Create transparency -

    • Tell the truth in a way people can verify.
    • Get real and be genuine.
    • Be open and authentic.
    • Err on the side of disclosure.
    • Don't have hidden agendas.
    • Don't hide information.

  4. Right wrongs -

    • Make things right when you're wrong.
    • Apologize quickly.
    • Make restitution where possible.
    • Practice "service recoveries".
    • Demonstrate personal humility.
    • Don't cover things up.
    • Don't let pride get in the way of doing the right thing.

  5. Show loyalty -

    • Give credit freely.
    • Acknowledge the contributions of others.
    • Speak about people as if they were present.
    • Represent others who aren't there to speak for themselves.
    • Don't bad mouth others behind their backs.
    • Don't disclose others' private information.

  6. Deliver results -

    • Establish a track record of results.
    • Get the right things done.
    • Make things happen.
    • Accomplish what you're hired to do.
    • Be on time and within budget.
    • Don't over promise and under deliver.
    • Don't make excuses for not delivering.

  7. Get better -

    • Continuously improve.
    • Increase your capabilities.
    • Be a constant learner.
    • Develop feedback systems, both formal and informal.
    • Act on the feedback you receive.
    • Thank people for feedback.
    • Don't consider yourself above feedback.
    • Don't assume today's knowledge and skills will be sufficient for tomorrow's challenges.

  8. Confront reality -

    • Address the tough stuff directly.
    • Acknowledge the unsaid.
    • Lead out courageously in conversation.
    • Remove the "sword from their hands."
    • Don't skirt the real issues.

  9. Clarify expectations -

    • Disclose and reveal expectations.
    • Discuss them.
    • Validate them.
    • Renegotiate them if needed and possible.
    • Don't violate expectations.
    • Don't assume that expectations are clear or shared.

  10. Practice accountability -

    • Hold yourself and others accountable.
    • Take responsibility for results.
    • Be clear on how you'll communicate how you're doing and how others are doing.
    • Don't avoid or shirk responsibility.
    • Don't blame others or point fingers when things go wrong.

  11. Listen first -

    • Listen before you speak.
    • Understand.
    • Diagnose.
    • Listen with your ears and your eyes and heart.
    • find out what the most important behaviors are to the people you're working with.
    • Don't assume you know what matters most to others.
    • Don't presume you have all the answers or all the questions.

  12. Keep commitments -

    • Say what you're going to do. Then do what you say you're going to do.
    • Make commitments carefully and keep them.
    • Make keeping commitments the symbol of your honor.
    • Don't break confidences.
    • Don't attempt to "PR" your way out of a broken commitment.

  13. Extend trust -

    • Demonstrate a propensity to trust.
    • Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust.
    • Extend trust conditionally to those who are earning your trust.
    • Learn how to appropriately extend trust to others based on the situation, risk, and credibility (character and competence) of people involved. But have the propensity to trust.
    • Don't withhold trust when there is risk involved.

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Always keep an open mind but a watchful eye.

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