"All we need is honesty, a little humility, and trust"
Whether dealing with our families, our employees or with our customers, the story is the same - our character defines us - it defines us in our personal lives and in our lives at work. It is who we are.
Leadership traits like honesty, humility and trust - they are validated by our behavior. Speaking about them does nothing. Our actions are the only thing that count.
Honesty is about transparency. Be clear in your expectations of your employees, your team. Give constant feedback. Be transparent with your customers, both external and internal, on progress, risks. No surprises. Alert your team members and your superiors of issues as they are emerging so that serious situations are avoided, anticipated and managed.
A good leader is willing to expose their weaknesses and failures, is willing to address them quickly; they are certainly not only willing, but see necessity in engaging their team and stakeholders in assuring a needed fix or a path to success.
A good leader gives honest feedback and sets expectations in a fair, timely and transparent way.
A leader with humility, is a leader with empathy. Our ability to put ourselves in the shoes of others, to value their perspective, cultures and priorities, starts with being humble about ourselves. Leaders with humility understand that their team makes them successful; they understand that their job is to make their people more successful than themselves; that true recognition comes when you see your team celebrated for their achievements. Customers value humility. In it they recognize experience, the scars of battle, and as such don't worry about you over promising.
Trust your people to do the work you have hired them to do. Guide them, lead them, but take risks with them and let them run. Ken Blanchard's Situational Leadership training teaches that an individual needs to be managed differently for different tasks, based on their skill and expertise for that task. What this means is that as managers, we don't dial up or down the trust-level to the task; instead we dial up and down the management oversight and feedback opportunities with our employees. But it starts with trust.
Bob Dylan, troubadour, got it right!