Trust Leadership

Article excerpt

Executive Summary

Leadership is the driving force in societal and organizational change. Without a recognized leader, status quo becomes acceptable and the desire to grow and achieve higher goals never develops. Strong, compelling leadership is at the root of all great accomplishments and a lot of routine work. Leaders create follower attitudes that allow them to trust their leaders. Trust is at the root of all great leadership. Leadership and trust have a unique relationship, one means little without the other. Leadership that is born and kept alive by follower trust is Trust Leadership.

Introduction

George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other recognized leaders in history had the innate ability to influence followers by appealing to their values and earning their trust. Values come in different shapes and sizes. Our past leaders embraced a mixture of beliefs and perceptions to move a nation forward, to free the slaves, and to fight for civil rights. Trust, respect, equality, and freedom are a few of the values that enlisted followers in history; and the values that were present then, are still alive today. Fairholm (1991) asserts that the principles, values and perspectives practiced successfully through history, can be duplicated today and applied to the workplace. People often overlook these values in the rush of our busy society. That is why it is imperative that we remember and keep in touch with our `founding values'.

Leaders set the tone for organizations by defining the purpose of the organization, creating the vision and sculpting the culture. Values influence the decisions made about the organization, the direction for the organization, and the attitudes of the people in the organization. When an individual's allegiance is divided between personal and corporate values, the effective leader will seek to merge the two. Values Leaders focus on attitudes toward goals, relationships with co-workers, and sense of self. A good leader employs his ability to balance a blend of values that will influence people to accomplish organizational goals (Fairholm, 1991) while meeting their own needs in the process.

Leadership is the driving force in societal and organizational change. Without a recognized leader, status quo becomes acceptable and the desire to grow and achieve higher goals never develops. Strong, compelling leadership is at the root of all great accomplishments and a lot of routine work. Leaders create follower attitudes that allow them to trust their leaders. Trust is at the heart of all great leadership. Leadership that is born and kept alive by follower trust is Trust Leadership.

Defining Trust Leadership

Values congruence exists when individuals express positive feelings upon encountering others who exhibit values similar to their own. Values that differ will create conflict and will impede goal achievement (Schemerhorn et al., 1994). Values, trust and attitude go hand-in-hand. Employees that perceive values incongruence will distrust, thus decreasing productivity, effectiveness, proper service delivery and profitability. Similarly, employees who trust their leaders, who feel values congruence will react positively to the vision and mission of the organization. It is essential for values congruence and trust to exist for the transformation process to take place. `Trust Leadership' is therefore defined by a series of characteristics among which are attitudes, relationships, sense of self, and belief in the absence of evidence and high risk. These characteristics will be further explored in the paragraphs that follow.

Trust Leadership Focuses on Attitude

Attitudes are responses to situations influenced by values. Effective leaders recognize that employee attitudes are important in achieving organizational goals. Thus, the leader begins to influence individuals by `tapping' into their values and building trust. …