Trust As A Key Value in Leadership
The topic of “trust” may not be discussed in daily conversation; yet, when asking others if they believe most leaders are “trustworthy,” there would probably be a long pause.
Since the television started bringing live news into our homes, our parents or grandparents will probably recall the “fall of President Nixon” and “Watergate.” Later we experienced President Bill Clinton, whose presidency was highly investigated and scrutinized as another world leader received a “black eye” due to his behavior, which immediately removed our trust in him.
As time continues, there seems to be more and more leaders of large companies and organizations who have lost the trust of their followers, employees, etc. Power and money have both been blamed for prominent leaders to tumble. Temptations and the lack of discipline and strong willpower have weakened many good leaders.
In my own experience, I’ve seen business leaders try and take advantage of others, using their power/position to gain special privileges, etc. Once you have seen or experienced this in a person of authority, it can cause you to lose respect for that employer or organizational leader.
An attorney relayed to me recently that when seeking good employees for his firm, “honesty or trustworthiness” are a priority in those he hires. It is the foundation of a responsible employee.
Therefore, as a job search candidate is preparing for an interview, he/she is encouraged to research the company and learn as much about them as possible. This includes the history of the company and their leadership, as well as catching up on any news releases, etc. Find out about the leader of the organization and try to meet this person when possible. Ask others about the leader’s character.
Of course, you will be interviewed and scrutinized, too, but do your best to learn about the culture and level of integrity of its leaders. With this in mind, also be aware that many employers are also looking for new employees, who are “trustworthy.” To mention this on your resume is definitely worth noting. In fact, some candidates include in their summary or objective that they are seeking a company of high integrity and responsibility. That lets them know up front that this is a priority of yours.
If an employer exhibits proactive and responsible behavior, it is an encouraging sign that they will also value a job candidate who values trust. Do NOT assume that either the employer or employee are trustworthy – BUT if they promote this quality, that is a good sign.
How does your organization and leadership showcase its trustworthiness? How should both leaders and employees promote themselves as trustworthy and honest? We’d love your thoughts.
Robyn Crigger is managing partner of OI Global Partners-Compass Career Mgmt Solutions in Charlotte, NC.