The life of the average person is a lot like a roller coaster. Every day brings new demands, with the highs and lows to accompany it. There are times when leaders face the challenge of their lifetime, while they try to navigate accordingly. Though much of a person’s success depends on the decisions he or she makes, we can trust that God will equip us and prepare us along the way. Indeed, the challenges of life are often the greatest forms of leverage – providing us with a means for personal growth.
Here are three signs of a trustworthy leader:
Trustworthy Leaders are Courageously Honest
“Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” Romans 13:7.
I’m reminded, whenever I read this verse, that I am accountable for my actions. My actions of which have both positive and negative consequences to those who chose to honor me with their time, love and respect. Honesty is a leader’s most valued leadership quality. In a study done by public relations firm Cohn & Wolfe, “the No. 1 quality or behavior which people demand of big brands is: Communicating honestly about products and services.”
Honesty is the expectation of our leaders, yet our generation has fallen short of the very thing we seek – authenticity. In my personal life, I have always found that there are risks involved when stepping into the truth. When my clients ask for honest feedback, I’m compelled to be truthful in a constructive manner. But a part of me always wonders whether they were ready to hear the truth. As Richard Reichert suggests, “trust is always a risk, a kind of leap in the dark. It is not based on any solid proof that the other person will not hurt you… trust is always a gamble.”
A courageous leader, despite what he or she may feel is honest, even in the midst of pain, loss, and setback. It is humbling to see leaders be courageously honest, to see them stepping outside the standard norm, to take a stand for integrity and to plow a way for others to follow.
To relate to someone on a personal level requires that we commit to honesty. In your personal life, has there ever been a time when honesty was required of you? How did you handle it? Despite the social pressure, how often do you feel the need to compromise the truth?
Trustworthy Leaders Love Without Limits
During all the jobs I’ve had growing up, I’ve never heard the word love used in the business setting. Sure, we may love our work, but how often do we see love as an effective strategy for business? Perhaps we’ve been conditioned to see love as an emotion rather than a specific behavior.
Sometime around AD 55, the apostle, Paul, writes a letter to a church in the city of Corinth, facing many issues and in need of help. He models how to confront the issues of the people in a diplomatic way. He writes, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wrong. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” 13:4-6.
Love and Compassion
We’ve all heard these words spoken, either at a wedding or during other important occasions. But how often did you think to yourself, “Hmm, this would make a great business philosophy.”
If you want your life to be characterized by the love and compassion Paul says to pay close attention to the way you behave during difficult situations. I’m referring to the people who irritate you – the people you dislike, and the very thought of them brings you discomfort.
Trustworthy Leaders Persevere
A persevering leader understands and is fully committed to their vision. Oftentimes, when we visit doctors, we don’t expect them to give us the daunting news. Instead, we typically go for aches or routine checkups. Surely, nothing bad could ever happen to us, right? Maybe our neighbor across the street or the guy in the cubicle next to us at work – but not me.
We can never be fully prepared to understand, let alone accept, our fragile humanity. When I was 12 years old, I had to live with and embrace a life I knew nothing of. Though living with epilepsy was certainly a challenge, one of the most important lessons I learned was the art of perseverance. Through the ashes of disappointment, God showed me how to stay focused, venture out for new challenges, and continue to pursue my passion wholeheartedly.
Though challenges come in two forms: physical and psychological, often it is the mental challenges that stop us from moving forward and rising above our setbacks. What areas of your life are you afraid to face? What are the things you need to do today in order to reroute your life and create a new path?