Globally many citizens are fearful and distrustful. Furthermore, two thirds of the population believe most people cannot be trusted, while political leaders may elicit less confidence. This is perhaps due to its similarity to “reality TV shows”. Trust, the firm belief (confidence) in someone’s/something’s ability to deliver what is promised, is not easily won. Are constituents’ expectations realistic? It seems like the electorate is looking for perfection, which I’m sure we agree is impossible of any government. Much as they may convey this, they are only human and like the rest of us fall short at times. This results in a loss of confidence in government; yet, beliefs remain strong in the democratic process. What can be done to begin re-establishing trust not only in the process but also in the persons? Here are five Cs to start:
Character Gains Trust
Knowledge gives power and character respect. Thus, integrity, the quality of being honest and possessing high moral principles, establishes a person’s good character. This becomes visible when actions are aligned with ethics and values, no matter what because what is legal is not necessarily ethical. Consequently, ethical behaviour speaks to a higher standard. In addition, taking time to identify core values improves one’s decision-making ability. These choices are individual, yet the evidence of those choices is public. This results in sincerity and consistency of character providing starting points for humanity to begin to trust again. Further, transparency in communication strengthens these relationships.
Competence Builds Trust
Sincerity and competence provide a strong combination and according to American writer, Peggy Noonan, “In politics, it is everything.” Therefore, the possession of sufficient knowledge and skill to complete tasks is essential, providing an opportunity to engage and build trust with the electorate. It seems like a shift in focus to showcasing the skills necessary for good governance will bring change. It is important to note that successful leaders have not only mastered hard skills, they’ve taken the time to learn and master soft skills. These includes skills such as listening, negotiating, collaboration, managing change, flexibility and building morale, which are essential for building trust. The results are stronger relationships and engaged teams working towards mutually beneficial goals. Empowered people are more productive and innovative.
Commitment and Communication
Consequently, leadership is much more than position and title. Through communication, both verbal and non-verbal, their commitment to community and vision are evident. Most of all it carries a responsibility to serve community seeking the best results for all. Almost everyone can lead wherever they are, when their desire is the betterment of society. Thus a servant’s heart in important to establishing trust and creating change.
Clout is Essential
Finally, the authority to deliver is imperative in establishing leadership and improvements result in trust growing. Therefore, persistence in commitment, communication, competence and character is required. In summary, it is possible to re-establish trust and follow Socrates wisdom by switching our focus from fighting the old to building the new.
Where and what will you choose to focus on?
Originally published in The Newsy Neighbour – May 2017