Early in my professional career I thought I knew it all. I was confident in myself and my abilities and felt I should have the opportunity for greater responsibility. I boldly informed my superiors of this desire and fully expected them to gratefully open the doors for me to lead and prosper.
Don’t get me wrong, they were very kind in saying no, but that didn’t lessen my frustration or heal my wounded pride. A wise leader on the executive team saw my disappointment and invited me to discuss it with him.
I again expressed my confidence and desire to help the company grow by receiving greater responsibility and opportunities. He patiently listened and then taught me one of my first great principles of leadership – you are one when you become one.
I didn’t understand what he meant at first, but over time it has become clear. No experienced executive or leader will blindly trust a young professional with a key project or client just because he says he can handle it and wants to do it. He needs to have been proven over time in two ways – in his character and his competence. He needs to have been consistent in who he is (character) and the results he produces (competence). This will then create a foundation of trust on which more opportunities can be built.
I’m grateful for this wonderful leader who took the time to mentor me on this foundation principle of leadership.
For a greater insight on how to build trust, I recommend Stephen M. R. Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust, which can be found on Amazon.com or Audible.com.