The Most Precious Thing On Earth

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With Australia heading into an election this coming July and also watching the US Election “juggernaut circus” unfolding each day, it brings to mind, either consciously or unconsciously in us, what I believe is the key issue to any election and also to leadership in general – and that is the issue of trust.

Our incumbent leaders and the Opposition passionately outline their election promises, but they sadly fall on many a sceptical ear after witnessing many back flips on election promises from the elected government. And this happens time and time again.

Julia Gillard, 2010: “There will be no carbon tax under the government.”  A carbon tax was introduced.  

John Howard in 1995 promised there would “never ever” be a Goods and Services Tax (GST).  In 1999, the GST was introduced. (1)

These are the tip of the iceberg.

If only our politicians would embrace this vital leadership trait – that they meant what they said and backed it up with their actions 100% of the time – it would be an election winning strategy.

It often feels like that as voters, we are trying to determine who is stretching the truth the least. The leaders of our great nation should be held to higher standards. Leadership is a responsibility and you cannot lead people if you don’t have their trust.

Have you ever been let down by a leader in the past?

What effect did losing trust in them have on you?

How did you feel towards that person after they broke your trust?

But it’s not only our illustrious politicians who need to take stock of walking the talk – we all do. However if you’re in a position of leadership, or you want to be, being 100% trustworthy is essential.  In fact it’s one of the key building blocks to creating and growing your influence as a leader.

Influence is THE most important leadership trait to lead people. Your team or those you lead must be able to trust you, otherwise your influence as a leader is undermined.

As some sayings about trust go:

“The most precious thing on earth is Trust.  It can take years to earn and just a matter of seconds to lose.”

“A single lie discovered is enough to create doubt in every truth expressed.”

“Trust is like an eraser – it gets smaller and smaller after every mistake.”

Leadership is all about having and growing your influence by growing trust in the people that follow you.  If you can’t influence those you lead then you are not a leader that is trusted, as no one will be following you, despite your title bestowed on you.

To have great influence, you need to have complete trust of those you lead.  Sure, you can use tough tactics to make people do what you want because you’re the owner or boss for instance leading by title, but that’s not real and authentic leadership.

Do you have the complete trust of your team and therefore do you have real influence?  

Why or why not?

Do your actions back up what you say, 100% of the time?  

Do they really?

Can you be trusted with people’s secrets or confidential information 100% of the time?

Can your team trust you to back them when they are going through a tough time?

What do you need to address to build the trust of your team, or those you lead, in you?

When you earn the trust of those you lead you will gain their respect and their loyalty, further increasing your influence.  Trust is the foundation of all success.  Without trust, you have nothing.

Trust feels like such a rarity these days but people are hungry to find it – whether it’s their partner, their boss and the company they work for, institutions they engage with, our friends and our politicians.  Finding people, leaders and companies we can completely trust is often like finding a needle in a haystack but once we find them they are like gold and we hold onto them with both hands tight and will follow them through thick and thin.

This is the sign of an authentic, real deal, influential leader – they are trusted.

Can I encourage you to discern that you are doing what you said you would do?

Are you the real deal, authentic leader who builds true leadership and influence by being 100% trustworthy?

The most precious thing in the world – trust.


// “Porkies: the biggest broken promises in Australian politics”, May 21, 2014, written by Cathy Alexander.

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