Leadership is about Trust and Honesty 7

The future success of managers and leaders centre on their ability to develop and sustain the levels of trust in an organisation and its leadership. To ensure trust levels are maintained there needs to be transparency, openness and honesty in every respect. Managers have a responsibility to make sure a code of ethics exists and more importantly that they adhere to this specific code in all of their dealing with their staff and customers. Managers must ensure the ethical conduct of those who represent their company and at the same time those with whom they do business.

When honesty and transparency are lacking there can be no trust and when trust levels break down there will be no loyalty. It is impossible to cultivate a climate of trust in the absence of ethics, honesty and transparency. Consequently fairness, accountability and responsibility cannot and will not exist.

Is a dishonest director, manager or leader a trustworthy or responsible person?

Consider the relationship between managers and staff if employees believe they cannot trust the manager or each other? The trust relationship breaks down and employees will start to be dishonest. Sick leave will increase, as employees will not be motivated to come to work. Dedicated and enthusiastic workers will feel they no longer want to be committed and will start to waste time and work less productively.

We have of late seen so many examples and open demonstration of dishonesty in business. I would go so far as to say honesty and truthfulness is declining at a rate that will be very hard to surpass in the future. Business and government throughout the world are rotten to the core. Government on the African continent is rotten to the core and we and we in South Africa are subject to dishonesty on a daily basis.

The decline in employee trust levels and employee confidence in senior management in both the private and public sector is at an all time low. In a recent survey conducted by A Maritz Research it was found only 11% of managers backed up their word with action and only 7% trusted their managers. 20% have no faith in their leadership and do not feel their leaders can be trusted or that they are honest and ethical.

We live in a “low trust society”. To survive and succeed managers and leaders must first address issues around trust and honesty. Management from the top down must be seen to be trustworthy, honest and ethical.

In South Africa there is a need to win the trust of employees but in addition our politicians need to urgently win the TRUST of both the local and international community. Trust levels are being eroded due to lack of honesty and the ongoing dishonesty of some of our leaders. This can only be accomplished through dedicated and committed leadership. Our leaders in the public and private sector and our leaders in government must possess and demonstrate the following traits

Transparent – totally open, going beyond current requirements or expectations
Responsible – clearly acting in the broader and longer term interests of all
Uncompromising – total commitment to highest moral and ethical standards
Successful – great results combining excellence in all areas with strong values
Temperate – taking care to avoid major risks, wild decisions and extravagance

Des Squire (Managing Member) AMSI & ASSOCIATES cc


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About Des Squire

I specialise in Employment Equity and Skills Development issues. Qualified facilitator, assessor, moderator, verifier and SDF. Available for any related assignments and or freelance work. If ou have a need let's meet to discuss. Quotes for training on request.

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7 thoughts on “Leadership is about Trust and Honesty

  • Tass Schwab

    I think we can think of other leaders in South Africa who have lost the plot regarding being moral and behaving well… I belong to a group call the Intendors of the highest good and this below actualy sums up the vision we can all hold:

    A Vision for the Highest Good in Business

    We see a world where the competitiveness in business is gone and has been replaced by a caring for one another; where no one profits at the expense of another; and where all exchanges of energy and resources are WIN-WIN, equally beneficent to all parties involved.

    We see selling as an archaic endeavor because there is no need for it in a world of abundance and easy access to goods and services. Accordingly, we see a trust formed among all peoples because conducting business is now a safe, honorable, and loving experience where everyone helps each other and wants only for all parties to be happy.

    We see employers, everywhere, treating their employees with courtesy, equality, and respect; and we see employees loving the work that they do. We see a four hour work day with lots of free time for leisure, recreation, and creativity.

    And finally, we see a business climate that takes the Highest Good of everyone concerned into consideration; where the Highest Good is the standard for all transactions and business relationships; and where the Highest Good and welfare of the Earth and her people is the number one priority in every business decision made.

    And as John Lennon said – I M A G I N E

  • Olga Mokgadi Milanzi

    Des what a wonderful topic to raise , I agree with you all the way and Tass, Amina, Colin,Dumisani and De Wet,thank you for the inputs they are real and I can feel that you are talking from experience,I am alos experiencing that in my workplace where leadership is perceived to be about trust and Honesty( transparency) only ny saying rather than by doing. I have been exposed to that kind of work place whereby you are intimidated to speak uo when you see things operated in a US vs Them attitude and as you know its very painful because you cannot do your work properly when things are like that especial with the leader who is not focused ,and practice favouritism at the work place I get demotivated when things like that happens.poor leadership can lead to people being absent from work,not performing well and resorting to fraud.Thanks for the wonderful inputs my friends.

  • Dumisani Mphalala

    The book by Robin Sharma, The leader who had not Title is a recommendable read for people who do not realise that we are all capable of providing leadership for any cause/goal.

    It is a quick read nogal.

  • Colin Dovey

    It may be a good idea to look at this article CLICK HERE in which the basics of good leadership could well be covered, and which many of our current leaders should heed if we are to progress as a country in the next 10 years.

  • amina abdi

    i like this des, it is true leaders need to be trusted, having good leader who treats every one equall and love his employees no body want to leave such job,
    is also very important that we do respect people see the world diferently and a good leader is the one who can leade that diferent diverse group of people
    about politicians they are the same evey where and is about politics and dirty play.

  • Tass Schwab

    South African across the board often operate from a US vs THEM attitude. Staff members having a perceptions about managers and the other way round too. I think that if we can lay our egos aside and start seeing one another as equals, and accept that some equals lead and others need to follow. Not forgetting to step into one another’s shoes. There is much aggression in the workplace because of perceptions and beliefs about one another.

    “We do not see things as they are.We see them as we are.”

    The way we view things is really only a reflection of our self beliefs, and not necessarily ‘how it really is’. Dr. Phil puts it this way, “There is no reality – only perception”. If we can get out heads round this it will add to the transparency we need to operate in a trusting environment.