How to Stop the Declining Trust in Leadership by DOUG WILLIAMSON


Remember, you are only as good as your last great decision.

The challenge lies not in the availability of answers, but rather in the deficits of candour, courage and ambition; the lack of willingness to ask the tough, insightful questions; the fear of doing the hard work necessary to make things better; the resistance to change, bred out of comfort with the status quo. Here are some ways to make changes:

Get outside

Leaders need to get to where real people and customers live. Fly-by visits are not the answer. The leader of the future has to be willing to dig in and find creative ways to really interact with the people who have the insights they need to drive the changes they want.

Shake it up

Boredom is a habit that is acquired by those who expect others to do things for them. There is no shortage of work to be done, challenges to face, problems to solve and ideas to be explored. The great leaders we know of are restless by nature and dissatisfied by temperament. There is no time like the present for the senior leader to take on the role of the Chief Agitator, or the Chief Rabble Rouser or the Chief Chaos Creator.

Don’t be afraid of the truth

Leaders can hide for a short time, but they cannot hide forever. The truth is liberating, if you have confidence in your ability to stare it in the face. Too many leaders allow themselves to live with the knowledge there is a gap between what they hear and what they feel. The great leaders are never afraid of knowing where they stand, because they know that moving forward is inevitable, no matter how inconvenient.

Make a difference

The value of leaders comes not from what they manage, but how they lead. Every leader needs to be guided and fuelled by a deep inner passion about something. Vanilla leadership is not what today’s more challenging environment demands, so get out there and find something meaningful to do.

Doug Williamson (@bluntleader) is president and CEO of The Beacon Group and author of the book Straight Talk on Leadership. E-mail: or visit his website:

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