I was inspired by this recent article in Business Week that talked about how a high-ranking executive considers two main criteria to be the core of his “leadership philosophy.” Those two factors being – idealism and realism.
These two qualities along with one of my own, leadership trust, are what I believe all effective leaders need to inspire and motivate peers and those who look up to them in an organization.
What is leadership trust? Simply put, to be an effective leader, those who follow you MUST have trust in you to be able to believe in your vision and carry it forward. You’re only as good as the team you lead.
I find the below excerpts inspiring, and I think you will too…
Example #1: How Rudy Giuliani used leadership trust along with idealism and realism to inspire New Yorkers at a time they needed it most:
Rudy Giuliani understood this idea. As Mayor of New York City after September 11th, he stepped-up and announced to the world with conviction and confidence that “we are going to make this the safest city in the world.” At the time, New Yorkers were beleaguered and demoralized. Many wondered aloud whether this was an impossible objective. Still, that vision of the future was one that people desperately needed to believe because it offered them the hope they longed for. But perhaps even more powerful than inspiration, Giuliani advanced pragmatic plans designed to help the city move towards that aspiration. Both his words and actions demonstrated that he realized the magnitude of the challenge. His inspirational vision and realistic approach united the people of New York City and enabled Giuliani to fundamentally change the profile of the city.
An idealistic vision is what motivates all of us. We want to know that we are working toward something consequential, something noble. This simple truth applies to every single person within your organization, from the receptionists to the general managers. That is the real job of a true leader — to offer a vision that inspires and motivates. But as difficult as that is to achieve, it is not enough. People also need to know that you yourself, as a leader, are in touch with reality, that you are willing to roll-up your sleeves and engage in the hard work that execution entails.
Example #2: How Campbell used leadership trust to be branded and trusted as the world leader in “nourishing people’s lives.”
At Campbell, during my ten-year tenure, our idealistic goal was to “build the world’s most extraordinary food company by nourishing people’s lives everywhere, every day.” While this is an ambitious goal, among many other things we’re backing it up with specific programs that will realistically have a lasting, positive impact on the health and well being of the youth in local communities where our facilities are located. Our plan to make our hometown of Camden, NJ a better place is a small but meaningful part of what allows employees at Campbell to feel fulfilled through even this latest economic crisis. According to Gallup, Campbell has consistently maintained an employee engagement ratio at “world class” levels.
This extremely high degree of engagement is a byproduct of realistic-idealism. Over the years, leveraging this philosophy is what has helped me recruit and retain some of the best people in the consumer products industry.
Leadership trust along with idealism and realism are critical in realizing your goals as a leader. How are you building leadership trust in your organization?