Taking Steps toward Leadership–Trustworthy

A scout is Trustworthy.  I will try my best to be honest and fair.  What do you have to do or be to be considered trustworthy?  You are a person of your word.  If you say something it is the truth.  If you promise, you deliver, and you are honest about how you think and how you feel.  Being trustworthy is not something that comes naturally.  People learn at a very young age that if you do not admit to a crime, you do not get punished.  Who drew on the walls?  Not me!  Did you cheat on the test?  No, of course not!  Did you take that pen without paying?  Why would I do that?  Lying, then, is a way to keep from getting punished.  It is also a way to get your own way.  I saw it first, so it’s mine.  John’s mom lets him drive without a license.  Yes, I did all my homework and chores, so now can we go out for pizza?  Lies help us soften the blow that “brutal” honesty would deliver.  The fearsome question, “Do these pants make my butt look big?” can be answered with “No.  They’re fabulous!” and the person thinks to himself that it’s just a little white lie that can’t hurt anyone.  Telling the truth has to be a conscious decision.  Mark Twain said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything!” That doesn’t mean you have no regard for peoples’ feelings.  Instead of replying to the dreaded question about the pants with a lie, you could reply, “Good Lord!  They make your butt look like it has its own zip code!  I haven’t seen something that big since the last eclipse!” or you could say, “I don’t think those pants flatter your figure the way you’d like.”  So yes, you can be truthful and tactful. People have to know that if you tell them something, you are being honest.  Another part of this is if you are asked to do a project, you must assess your time and resources before you say yes or no because if you say you have time to do a good job, then do a bad job, were you lying about having the time or are you incompetent?  Neither conclusion is optimal!  You must become a person that seeks the truth and is a source for truth.  Discount rumors and gossip.  If someone is trying to spread gossip, tell them that you don’t listen to gossip, and will not spread it around.  Ask people if what they are hearing is rumor or fact.  Inform those around you that until you have accessed the facts and have had a chance to peruse the evidence, you will not be swayed by rumor.  Then, naturally, don’t spread or repeat gossip or rumors.

The action part of this quality is follow up.  Do you say what you mean?  Do you do what you say?  Can you keep all your promises?  Do you always do your best work?  These thoughts will go through the minds of those you lead.  “I like you Bob, you’re special,” doesn’t mean anything if you don’t treat Bob as if you like him.  “The check is in the mail…” is an example of following up and following through on a promise.  “I will have that report to you on Thursday!”  Then get the report to him on Thursday.  The counter example is Bob says, “I’m all in with this group, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them!”  and then he doesn’t support his members in the contests, he forgets his commitments and complains about the lack of enthusiasm of the members.  Is this person trustworthy?  It takes a lot of time and effort to build trust because there are so many elements involved.  Trustworthy is not a series of behaviors, it’s a regard for your crew, your followers, your members that urges you to be honest, fair and truthful with them and the people your group works with.  Being trustworthy is a way of showing LOVE for your followers.

How does always doing your best work fit into Trustworthiness?  If your work is inconsistent, people do not know what to expect from you.  If you always do exhaustive research when presenting a new project, if you always make your cupcakes with the same recipe, if you always show up on time prepared, then people depend on you for more and more because they can believe that it will be exactly what they need when they need it.   If you are dependable and honest, and you make searching for truth and not taking short cuts your standard operating procedure, you will gain the trust of those you lead.  It NEVER comes naturally.  You have to work on it.  It’s best to instill this in children and reinforce it over and over through out life.  But regardless of when you begin this perspective:  that honesty IS the best policy, and if you love your group, you’ll be trustworthy; you should practice this response to the love you have for your people.  You must love the people you lead, even if, at times, you don’t like them much.  So being Trustworthy is a response not a behavioral pattern to learn.  If you read or watch movies or television shows that are “hero” based, you discover that these brave trustworthy souls think that to protect the people they love, they must lie to them.  In each and every case, that gets their loved ones killed.  If you want to lead, you must be trustworthy in order to get and keep your followers, no matter what the task.

Read  The Green Arrow graphic novels, The Fred Factor (Mark Sandborn), 7 Habits of Highly Successful People (Covey)

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