Monday, October 15, 2012

What is The Most Important Trait You Look for In a Leader?

In last six/seven months, I was forced to think on a number of things. Primarily when faced with certain challenges, you question everything about yourself and your capabilities and why people are with you or not with you. 

And they lead to a series of questions internally. I have questioned almost everyday on what is the most important trait you would look for in a human being, when you go for any truthful and sincere relationship:

- Is it honesty, integrity, truthfulness?
- Is it loyalty, faithfulness, sticking along, staying the course?
- Is it love, affection, regard?
- Is it high energy level, impulsiveness, desire?
- OR Is it any other thing?

When I asked many times, it slowly focuses on one thing, which is TRUST (or rather TRUSTWORTHINESS). TRUSTWORTHINESS is THE most important quality a human being will look for in another human being.

Why and how?

A Policeman is Trusted with a Gun:

Or for that matter, an army personnel is trusted with a rifle. If an army man walks around with a rifle in 5 star hotel crowded with affluent people or even a crowded mall, nobody turns around and questions. Why? Because, he is entrusted with the rifle and is entrusted that he will do no harm with that. That is not true for just another person.

A Hotelier is Trusted with the Food that is served:

A number of people from all walks of life walk into many hotels as they trust that the food that is served is not poisoned or at least will not do any harm while eating.

A Wife is Trusted with Keeping the Home together:

It is never the man (please forgive me here, though I belong to man species), it is the wife who keep a family together during a rough time, not the man. It is the wife who with her love, care and constant affection towards her family binds the family together. For no other reason, we say Earth as our Mother, or the country where you stay as your Motherland or the language one speaks as his/her Mother-tongue (not father-tongue!). Because, they care and they have the ability to nurture, bind all together.

A Doctor is Trusted with a Scalpel or Needle:

Nobody will allow a person to insert a needle, how much clear or sterilized it may be, to his flesh unless the person in question is a doctor. A heart patient goes to sleep peacefully thinking that the Doctor holding the scalpel will not do any harm knowingly while his heart is operated upon.

And a mother being trusted by the infant child on everything, a father being trusted about preserving the life of an infant child and so on . . .

Similarly, a Leader's no. 1 attribute will be "To be trusted by his team members". I can not think of any other term. For a team to work with a leader, it must trust its leader. Without trust also it can work by power, coercion etc., but somewhere along the way it is going to fall apart. In a highly volatile environment considering today, trust works with real people with real and sincere ambitions. If you are straight, honest and sincere - your team knows and feels it. Everyday you are on a stage and they are watching you and checking you.  

But then, trust is also very brittle. Trust which takes years to build upon, breaks in seconds when things are not done properly. Just one action (sometimes even one word), is enough to break someone’s trust. No matter how strong the trust may be and how stronger the bond that has developed due to a number of painstaking steps or actions brick by brick, it can break instantly. So trust is priceless, but has to be handled very carefully as well.

TRUST is considered to be the most important human trait, is also due to the fact that:

- It is trust that breeds loyalty, getting along with people, staying together
- It is trust that breeds fidelity, honesty, truthfulness
- It is trust that breeds love, affection, regard

In the corporate world, it is important that we trust people, but also verify them. And to certain extent, in modern days, this applies to various circles of relationships that we have. Also, in corporate world, a leader need not act omnipresent, omnipotent. People reporting to you are not fools. If there are bad news or job cuts or salary freeze to happen, be genuine and truthful with your team members. A real person will always feel if you are telling it with all sincerity. If the person does not reciprocate and sometimes that do happen, he was not be within your trust circle in anyway, in the 1st place! Also, there will be certain people who have a chronic problem of not trusting anyone. Just ignore them, they are not worth it at all. 

Finally, a number of different opinion might come, but TRUSTWORTHINESS, as a matter of fact, is the most important quality of all that you can look for in a human being in any kind of relationship.

As they say: "To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved".

In fact, I would say:

“To be trusted is actually a greater compliment than any other thing, be it about love or honesty or faithfulness or loyalty, as all of them start with Trust!”

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