Far and away, the most desired characteristics of leaders are (in this order):
It’s fascinating that both “inspiring” AND “competent” are on the list together, as it feels frequent that a leader demonstrates one characteristic, but not the other.
What really stands out as most notable is that out of all the things a leader can be, HONEST is at the top of the list.
We can’t always subject ourselves to polygraph tests, so how do we “prove” that we are honest?
Here’s how: Do what you say you will do. (DWYSYWD)
Expect people to be fully engaged in meetings? Never look at your phone, and keep your laptop closed.
Expect people to put customers ahead of routine tasks? Allow your team members to interrupt your routine tasks.
Expect employees to park away from the building? Park the furthest away.
I had the chance to visit a corporate headquarters once. This company had some bad word-of-mouth in terms of having a toxic culture. When I arrived, I saw there was a large luxury automobile parked in the very front – in the middle of a fire lane, with one wheel up on the curb, and blocking the wheelchair ramp to top it all off. Turned out it belonged to the CEO, and when I learned that, it all made sense.
Do what you say you will do.