There are 4 pillars of leadership that if you are seeking to be a better leader should mesh with everything you do. The beauty of being a leader doesn’t mean you have to be in management or own a business. Leadership is “influencing the people around us,” says Dr. Gary McCaleb of ACU. When we influence other people the best leaders strive to build trust, have integrity, communicate properly, and serve their people. Also, the best leaders I have come across have the common trait of humbleness, which I see many leaders lacking today.
Here are the 4 pillars of leadership that you can start applying to your relationships today to be a better leader and some real-world examples I’ve witnessed of people displaying these traits.
Trust
The most expensive thing in the world is trust… it can take years to earn it and seconds to lose it.
  • Trust is built on consistency. Trust is earned when you are consistent with your time, energy, and go the extra mile to help people. My mentor and First boss, Mark Spurlock, was first to arrive and last to leave.  He was consistent and available which built trust between us.  I knew I could count on Mark when I needed him.
  • In our local chapter of BNI, we stress the importance of consistent attendance. The reason we do this is so members can build trust between each other.  If someone isn’t there consistently it is hard to trust them because you don’t get to know them as well.
Integrity
Choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than just professing them.
  • My father has integrity. He uses his hands to build, clean, and organize on a ranch in Ruidoso, NM working for a friend who owns the ranch. He displays integrity in this job on a daily basis by taking pride and sharing his craftsmanship.
  • Local BNI member Paula Feil recently displayed her integrity by going above and beyond to take care of me. We have 3-year-old carpet that was purchased where Paula works and has needed stretching multiple times. She has been proactive and diligent to make sure this gets done in a timely manner and at no charge. She has also researched whether the manufacturer’s warranty would cover replacing the carpet. Her due diligence is a sign of her integrity.
Communication
The biggest problem with communication is we do not listen to understand, we listen to reply.
  • Recently, Robert Rhodes, the ACU Provost sat with my wife’s department at a company dinner and listened to the table talk about current issues on campus. Like the show “undercover boss” organizations can change dramatically when management listens to their employees. Plus employees will be more motivated and inspired when they feel understood and have a part in helping the company they work for. Robert displayed excellent listening skills and worked to understand better how everyone feels and the changes they are faced with on the ground level.
Service
Small acts when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.
  • Texas Builders Foundation Chairman, Mike Biggerstaff, inspires home builders all over Texas. Because the housing market in Texas is booming, there is a shortage of tradesmen and Mikes biggest goal is to influence change and find ways to bridge this gap. Without tradesmen (plumbers, carpenters, electricians, framers, cabinet makers) builders can’t build homes.
  • John Loudermilk, President of our local home builders group told a story about how he gathered up high school kids on a job site to tell them how awesome tradesmen are and how important they are to our local economy. He explained that there are plumbers that make more money and are more fulfilled and happy than some doctors and lawyers in town.
Trust, integrity, communication, and service are just 4 pillars that make great leaders. What other traits have you witnessed that make a strong leader?
Share your thoughts below. Thanks for your support! Please share these thoughts with a friend, a colleague, a student, or a mentee today and subscribe to the Leadership is Listening podcast on iTunes or Podbean.

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