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This month's topic: Responsibilities of the Trusted Leader

April 12, 2005      
Topics of Trust and Leadership, from the authors of The Trusted Leader



The authors of The Trusted Leader

This month we bring you the first article in our series on the responsibilities of trusted leaders.

We’ll introduce you to the four main responsibilities, then explore them in greater depth in the months to come.

As always, your feedback and comments are welcome at info@trustedleader.com

-Rob and Anne-


The Trusted Leader

Previous Issues:

Be a Person

Six Communications Mistakes New Managers Make

Find Yourself a Guide


Next month's issue: Developing a Community of Future Leaders

Responsibilities of the Trusted Leader Part I: Thoughtful Leader or Trusted Leader?

As a thoughtful leader, you know that you have many responsibilities. You no doubt take them seriously. And you try to work in a way that fulfills them on a daily basis.

You keep an eye on competitors, and try to align your strategy to ensure that your company performs to its maximum potential in the marketplace.

You monitor the climate internally also, and try to rectify any problems that you find are either disrupting or threatening to disrupt the workflow (for example, you act as mediator when employees are at odds with one another).

You do the administrative busy work that you need to in order to ensure that your employees’ work lives run, as much as possible, uninterrupted. Regular, formal, performance reviews. Salary reviews. Bonus reviews.

You try to help individual employees meet their own career goals while at the same time maintaining a balance of talent, skill, and synergy among your direct and indirect reports.

You schedule meetings. You hire consultants, and coaches, as needed. You answer emails, voice mails, sometimes even letters. You’re as responsive as you can be. You keep your own career in mind as you go along, but you put the company first.

There’s no surprise in any of that; all of the above falls neatly under the heading “responsibilities of leadership.”

Four Responsibilities of Trusted Leaders

If you aspire to be a trusted leader, though, and you truly aim to build trust inside, you need to think about these responsibilities in a different light. On a different plane. Yes, of course, you’ll continue to do all of the strategic and tactical things you would do as a thoughtful leader. But trusted leadership raises the bar.

In the companies and situations we’ve examined, we’ve found that truly trusted leaders seek to fulfill four greater responsibilities, which, essentially, they use as the foundation, or rationale, for everything else that they normally do.

Put another way, the responsibilities of the trusted leader, as we’ve identified them, form the framework within which everything else gets done; they ensure that your work, however discrete the tasks, ties into a greater whole at the end of the day.

The first two of these responsibilities can fall under the heading of building your organization. They are:

  • Developing a community of future leaders
  • Fostering organizational vitality.

The other two are more personal:

  • Identifying and modeling appropriate personal attributes and behaviors
  • Consciously planning your legacy.

Trusted Leadership Requires Focus

The responsibilities of the trusted leader sound straightforward, if somewhat intangible. And we wouldn’t be surprised if you said that you’re fulfilling many of them already, in part, or subconsciously, as you do your work.

In order to create a truly trust-based organization, though, you must address them explicitly, which isn’t something that comes naturally, especially when your time is taken up 24/7 with the tasks of being a top manager. That is, you must invest the time to reflect on them, articulate them, and check in with them on a more-than-annual basis.

It’s worth the effort. Fulfilling the responsibilities of good or thoughtful leadership may yield successes, even marketplace home runs. But aspiring to fulfill the responsibilities of the trusted leader – in other words, having a philosophy that explains why you do what you do – can accomplish all of that and more. It builds strength at the core, and ultimately makes your work, and the work of all those in your company, more meaningful, whatever your position in the market.

What do you feel are the responsibilities of trusted leaders? Let us know.

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