Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Thursday 12 May 2011

Leadership equals transparent communication

Trust is essential in effective leadership. That is exactly what is missing, I notice in my interviews to advice on strengthening capacities of climate risk management. Respondents in and outside government have no trust in their leaders and CEOs. No wonder I pick up signals of lack of motivation, low productivity, absenteism, poor cooperation, increased staff turn over and talent loss.

Trust is essential in getting things done, but even more essential to prepare for climate risks. So how can a government reverse a lack of trust in senior management and the performance fallout that follows, especially when that lack of trust is complicated with the uncertainties brought about by climate change? The answers for me is in increased transparent internal and external communication.

Credibility is crucial for establishing trust. Leaders must demonstrate competence enabling staff to trust that they have sufficient skills to make sound and firm decisions. Credibility also requires consistency. People do not trust leaders who change their mind too often. With regard to my task a successful leader will have to establish a strategic risk management plan and then implement it consistently with only minor modifications.

To earn trust leaders must at the same time show they care for their people and treat them as their human capital. An open door policy helps. Actively listening and proactively responding to the needs and problems of their workforce does wonders. It also implies that leaders must trust their staff and understand everyone has a different learning style and curve and that no one is better than another. By demonstrating these qualities, leaders can inspire others. Strengthening capacities for climate risk management implies also investing leadership styles.

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