When you start having doubts about your leader

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No one ever reached their goals wearing a blindfold. There’s no reason why you should accept to do so when a leader asks you to.

Even if “Making it on my (our) own” gets many people dreaming about how they can succeed in business or life, the “on my own” part isn’t always possible. Joining a team somehow becomes a necessity. Let that team be a company, an association, a community of interest, a sports team or else. Each having their own leader.

The trust we put in the leader then is key. At least for that person “to be the best one in place for making the best decisions required”. Because we now fully or partially “depend” on that person for “making it”, to achieve our goal.

Let’s say your goal is becoming a better public speaker. For doing so, you decide to join a speakers’ association and take part in as many workshops as possible. The Association’s president won’t have much influence on your capacity to achieve that goal. What if your goal is to win a Super Bowl? Your team’s quarterback then has a lot of influence on your ability to actually reach such goal by the end of a given football season.  How about if your goal is to make a living as a cabinetmaker? There are now many people you need to trust they’ll make the best decisions possible. The recruiter at the company you sent your resume (for hiring you), the person who becomes your direct supervisor once you’ve been hired (for treating you in a fair and respectful manner) and the company’s manager (for managing the company in the best interest not only of its shareholders but the employees as well).

How do we judge if someone is trustworthy? The same way other people will try to make their own opinion about us; by looking for clues and cues. Ones to be found in what we have done in the past (our resume, portfolio, job references, etc.), in what we do nowadays (our present job), how we act and talk in person, as well. All things that, once put together, can either inspire enough confidence for going one more step forward or not. Like when someone offers you a 2nd job interview.

What do you do when the behaviors of someone you’d agreed to trust start changing in a negative way? When the basis on which you were asked to “Trust me” are changed without you being told? Or the promises made start to get broken? Enough for you to start having doubts about that person’s or company’s true intentions and motivations?

Recent statements by President Trump suggesting the cancellation of White House’s daily press briefings – because it’s somehow too hard to always tell the truth – raise such doubts. Not only among US politicians but Americans as well [You can read about these statements here and here. A similar “concerning situation” occurred a couple months ago with Wells Fargo. When it was reported that the bank had put in place a system where employees had to create phony-bank accounts. Ones that ended up having a negative impact on people’s credit score. Because the targeted clients were “not staying current on accounts they didn’t even know about”. [Read here for an in-depth analysis of Wells Fargos’ stratagem] Recent and past History is filled with similar examples.

What can you do then?

It’s possible for you to inform the person who asked for your trust that what she’s doing isn’t what you agreed upon (prior to joining her team). You can use such opportunity to remind her the initial terms of your partnership, sort of speak. You can even start keeping that person or organization accountable for what it does, in regards to what is expected. (Consumers and shareholders association, for instance, are created with that in mind.) If there’s no change, you have what is probably the most powerful power available; the one of choosing.

Something people tend to forget.

Choosing who you want to be led by. And either stay in that “partnership” or change for someone else. Someone who suits you better, as a leader.

Because in the end, it comes down to “reaching your goal” or not. You can’t “make it” from trusting someone who asks you to put a blindfold in return for his or her leadership. How would you make sure you’re heading in the right direction (towards your goal) then, and not being intentionally misled instead?

You can choose. Doing so with your eyes opened can only be beneficial on the long run.

When was the last time you felt someone wanted you to wear a blindfold? To either hide some facts, behaviors or decisions from you?

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Photo credits: akNY

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