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The Trusted Executive

I read a book by John Blakey - The Trusted Executive - Nine Leadership Habits that Inspire Results, Relationships and Reputation. I like the title since I like habits. And distilling a complex topic into 9 things sounds attractive. The book leads with a section on why executives want to be trusted.

I recall a speech I heard recently by the CEO of Ace Hardware, John Vanhuizen (and getting to know him a bit, I would call him a trusted executive). He said (paraphrased) "CEOs and business people are not trusted and not as important as we like to think". He was speaking to a room of CEOs and business people. We see this by the occupy Wall Street movement. Given the environment, it makes sense to study more how to be trusted.

The habits are broken down into 3 pliiars - Habits of Ability, Habits of Integrity and Habits of Benevolence. I will not share all of the 9 habits but will mention a few: One habit is the habit to be open. Consistent open communications build trust. This includes having a healthy mutual respect. The book says "choose to be open" so it is a choice. I love the habit but as a time management person struggle with how to do this well. In person is always best. Repeated, as long as it is not boring helps. Multi-channel helps - face to face, email, webex, call etc.

Most of the habits seem fairly easy and come naturally - humility, kindness, honesty. Some like braveness take more. I suspect each leader will have their own easy and difficult ones. I know self knowledge is a key to good leadership and suspect that helps a lot with being trusted. In business, our ethics is "we do the right thing". This seems to flow straight from the book although at the time we came up with that, I had not read the book. Good book.

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