Friday, July 15, 2011

Law No. 6 - The Law of Solid Ground. John C. Maxwell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership



Law No. 6 - The Law of Solid Ground. John C. Maxwell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
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Trust is the foundation of leadership

The newpaper headlines have been damning for media tycoon Rupert Murdoch of late. His famous UK newspaper, 'News of the World' has already closed its pages for the last time. Now his entire financial empire is in question. Will this multi-millionaire lose much of what he worked so hard to gain? So why is the rug being swept out from under his feet? Primarily because of one word: Trust. The media mogul is being investigated because employees in his workplace were allegedly hacking people's mobile phones to access inside information in order to sell newspapers. The scandal runs deep and wide, and Rupert Murdoch is one man who now probably wishes the media wasn't such a powerful machine, that is able to tarnish his name and brand so quickly. Though, a breaking of trust can do that.

See, trust is the foundation of leadership. You rip trust away from an organisation, and you rip away the fabric that was holding the organisation together. You have someone who becomes untrustworthy and you find their influence, their relationships and their ambitions are affected. Good leaders on the other hand understand the importance of trust and developing trust amongst their family, friends and colleagues. Trust is built over time, through the consistent integrity of the choices a leader makes. While trust takes so long to build, one unethical or moral mistake can break trust within minutes. Think about the following things that can easily break trust in a relationship:

  • Sexual misconduct
  • Sudden outburst of anger
  • Breaking an important promise
  • Continually breaking smaller promises
  • Favouritism
  • Harassment
  • Neglect
  • Micro-managing
  • Lack of self-control
The list goes on. John Maxwell says, 'To build trust, a leader must exhibit competence, connection and character.' When speaking of character, think of the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in the Bible in Galatians 5:22 - 'The fruit of the Spirit, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.' All leaders and aspiring leaders, could all do with more of those characteristics! With integrity and character that exemplifies those fruits, you are sure to be a leader who is fundamentally trustworthy in all aspects of life. When you combine this with competence, Stephen Covey says, 'the fruit is wisdom and judgment- the foundation of all great and lasting achievement and trust.' (The 8th Habit, p. 149). 


General H. Norman Schwarzkopf (Cited in Stephen Covey's The 8th Habit, p. 151) says, 'I've met a lot of leaders in the army who were very, very competent. But they didn't have character. For every job they did well in the Army, they sought reward in the form of promotions, in the form of awards and decorations, in the form of getting ahead at the expense of somebody else, in the form of another piece of paper that awarded them another degree...a sure road to the top. You see, these were competent people, but they lacked character. I've also met a lot of leaders who had superb character but who lacked competence. They weren't willing to pay the price of leadership, to go the extra mile because that's what it took to be a great leader. To lead in the twenty-first century...you will be required to have both character and competence.' - And then, can I say, you will have trust! Trust is the foundation of great leadership.


Trust is but one part of a leaders arsenal, if you like. While there are many other aspects to effective leadership, without trust, you simply do not have a good foundation in which to build anything else.

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John C. Maxwell's Law No. 6 - The Law of Solid Ground - 'Trust is the foundation of leadership'.  From The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Also, look at Stephen Covey's The 8th Habit.

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