Whether categorized as a skill, trait, behavior, characteristic, or in some other way, communication is consistently identified by leadership scholars and practitioners as a key to successful outcomes. That’s what first inspired creation of the Communication-Based Leadership framework.

Starting with communication as a central idea, we dug into the research literature on communication and leadership and were quickly reminded of four timeless truths that may seem obvious, but are all too often overlooked.

  1. Everything is a communication activity
  2. Our capacity to communicate is finite
  3. Leadership is about relationships
  4. Enduring leadership success requires trust

Today’s Read to Lead recommendation is Military Leadership in Pursuit of Excellence (4th ed.), by Taylor, Rosenbach, and Ulmer, Jr.. We suggest adding it to your list because of its emphasis on the importance of trust in leader-follower relationships.

“Leaders establish trust by taking actions that are consistent both over time and with what the leader says. Trust, of course, exists in the minds and hearts of followers and is not an obvious aspect of leader behavior. But consistency over time and between words and actions produces trust in followers.” — Military Leadership in Pursuit of Excellence, 4th ed., p. 57

Trust cannot be mandated, but must be freely given. It is incredibly difficult to build and disturbingly easy to lose. 

At North of Center, we know from experience and research that enduring trust is given to leaders and organization that are the most credible.

We define credibility in terms of the literal consistency of and alignment between a words and deeds of a leader or organization.

We define trust in terms of whether a words and deeds or a leader or organization are perceived as consistent and aligned.

And we teach leaders to preserve and strengthen their own credibility by identifying and closing critical “say-do gaps” so they lay a solid foundation upon which trust can be built and sustained — during good times and bad!

To learn more about how to align your words and deeds to build trust through credibility and achieve enduring success as a leader, hit us with your questions in the discussion board below, or drop us a line directly. We’ll be happy to talk with you and develop resources tailored to your situation.

Cliff W. Gilmore Administrator
Founder and CEO , North of Center LLC

Cliff holds a PhD in organization and management with a specialization in leadership. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, he completed operational deployments to Fallujah, Iraq and Kandahar and Helmand, Afghanistan. He has led multi-national and inter-agency teams including approximately one year on loan from the Corps as Director of Policy, Planning, and Outreach for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs. He also directly advised the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on public and media engagement regarding national security matters for two years as Special Assistant for Public Communication. Today he puts that experience to work helping people become the kind of leaders they would want to follow.

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