Becoming a Trusted Leader

by Ron Potter

Grasping leadership greatness starts by letting go:

If we do not let go, we make prisoners of ourselves.…

Let go of the strategies that have worked for us in the past…

Let go of our biases, the foundation of our illusions…

Let go of our grievances, the root source of victimhood…

Let go of our so-often-denied fear…”
—Gordon MacKenzie

Letting go is not a one-time deal. You must do it again and again and again.

Many of the most enduring ideas and values in our lives today have been shaped and molded by modern-day “blacksmiths.” Ancient or modern, the principles are the same: The blacksmith heats the iron at the forge, shapes it on his anvil, and cools it in the water.

The blacksmith heats the metal to prepare it for change. The trusted leader warms people to change through humility and compassion. The blacksmith hammers the metal to form a new shape. The trusted leader shapes an organization through commitment and focus. The blacksmith cools the metal to “settle” its strength. The trusted leader uses peacemaking to give the changed organization meaning and understanding. The forged metal, once cooled, becomes the powerful sword, the productive plow, or the beautiful wrought-iron gate.

By understanding the elements that build and destroy trust, effective leaders shape strong and productive organizations:

At the end of the same session when Jesus shared his Beatitudes with his followers—the ideas on which the eight attributes are based—he told an interesting story. Jesus said that if his team members would put what he had taught them into practice, their lives would be like a man who built his house on a solid rock foundation. No matter what kind of storm hit, Jesus promised that the house would stand. But if these men did not pay attention to the truth Jesus shared, their lives would be like the man who built his house on a foundation of shifting sand. When the storm hit that house, it would crumble and wash away.”

I believe the eight attributes of leadership will have that kind of effect on you. Allow them to permeate you from the inside out, and you will have a career—and a life—built on solid rock. You will be known as a person who can say with clear-eyed conviction, “Trust me.”

And others will follow.

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