The Trusted Leader

An Executive Forum Presentation by Robert Galford, Synopsis by Rod Cox
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“Any effective leader is entrusted with two sets of interrelated responsibilities:

  • Organizationally, she must ensure the organization’s vitality (not necessarily its longevity). She must also develop a community of future leaders.
  • Individually, she must identify and model appropriate personal attributes and behaviors. She must also consciously plan and execute her legacy.

On the surface, these look relatively simple; but they are complex, slippery and elusive. Even if a leader thinks she’s doing a great job, there’s always the danger of too much individual trust getting in the way of collective trust. The reverse can happen, as well. Or she can slip from being appropriately personal to being inappropriately private. Or misjudging the perceptions of those she leads.

The need for balance between individual and collective trust creates a condition of ambiguity. It’s like piloting a sailboat. Setting the course is the easy part. The hard part is being constantly vigilant, initiating regular corrective actions in response to the unpredictable and ever-changing conditions of wind and water.”