Your people know when you make mistakes. The real question is whether you’re going to fess up. If you do, you can often regain their trust.
How does a leader build trust? By consistently exemplifying competence, connection and character. People will forgive occasional mistakes on ability. And they will give you time to connect. But they won’t trust someone who has slips in character.
Character Communicates – a person’s character quickly communicates many things to others. Here are the most important ones:
o Character Communicates Consistency – leaders without inner strength can’t be counted on day after day because their ability to perform changes constantly.
o Character Communicates Potential – weak character is limiting. Who do you think has the greater potential to achieve great dreams: someone who is honest, disciplined, and hardworking or someone who is deceitful, impulsive and lazy?
o Character Communicates Respect – When you don’t have character within, you can’t earn respect without. How do leaders earn respect? By making sound decisions, by admitting their mistakes, and by putting what’s best for their followers and the organization ahead of their personal agendas.
No leader can break trust with his people and expect to keep influencing them. Trust is the foundation of leadership. Violate the Law of Solid Ground, and you diminish your influence as a leader.