I last wrote that there are specific personal core convictions that inspire confidence and trust within organizations. These convictions are requisite for a healthy organization to achieve its full mission. If they are to be of value, they also must be practiced across the broader organization. These four convictions are translated into practice by each decision the leader makes:
Collaborative – This empowers shared ownership of the process, problems, and solutions. It is within the team that best ideas emerge. This is nothing new as Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” Your collaborative leadership style will build a team that can articulate the uniqueness of your organization to staff, volunteers, other constituants and stakeholders.
Transparent – Transparency is essential toward building and sustaining trust. Being transparent includes being trustworthy, vulnerable, and accountable. As a leader, you need a commitment to develop good discernment skills. Listen before moving toward action. Believe that vulnerability creates an environment of trust where colleagues can debate and disagree without fear of negative repercussions, because candor is critical to healthy culture. See yourself as an “architect of agreement” who can articulate to various groups, each with its own idea about the direction of an organization, a shared, actionable plan. This is especially important when it comes to the allocation and reallocation of resources in ways that are fair, creative and mission-focused.
Stable – In order to consistently inspire confidence in the organizational vision and mission, there needs to be a compass that always points north no matter the situation. As the organization shifts from strategy to implementation, stability is critially important in its value of creating confidence and trust. Stability is key to capacity building, donor confidence, and increasing the retention rate.
Visible – Leaders need to be available, accountable and committed to the process. Place a high value on “leadership by walking around.” Your personal leadership style should articulate confidence in your organization and unified others in the way it delivers. You can never over-communicate the vision.
Alan Baker is Principal of Strategic Foundations and ministered in the Navy and Marine Corps as a chaplain. He now serves Fuller Theological Seminary and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary as an adjunct faculty member, and Senior Fellow at the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy.