Why Leaders are Least Trusted by Brian K. Dodd & Jim Johnson

I read an article on Zite (mobile app) this morning.  The original title is “Two Surprising Areas Many Pastors & Church Leaders are Least Trusted” by Brian K. Dodd.  I am reposting it here but in a re-written format – for the business community.  Mr. Dodd spells out clearly some blind spots that many leaders – whether in a religious, non-profit, or for profit setting – need to be aware of.  Here’s the article from a business perspective.  At the end of this post, you will find the link to Mr. Dodd’s original post.


Trust is a fragile.  Trust is the foundation of all healthy relationships.  Trust takes a lifetime to build but can be lost at a moment in time.  You cannot grow a church without trust.

After countless conversations and almost three decades of personal leadership experience, I would submit the two areas where leaders are least trusted by their teams, boards, company are…..Competence and Execution.

  • Competence is defined as “the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.”
  • Execution is defined as “the carrying out or putting into effect a plan or course of action.”

Trust is lost because of broken promises, continual missed expectations, empty “cutting edge” rhetoric, lack of movement, inability to make a decision, perpetual stalling in the name of a lack of accountability, faulty systems, recklessness, plans which are not well thought through, not addressing issues, repeated poor decisions and multiple failed business initiatives.

When leaders are not trusted, you see the following:

  • Polite smiles as vision is being cast.
  • Shoulders slumped or shrugged.
  • Blank faces indicating apathy.
  • Frustration.
  • Leaders leaving the company .
  • Increased absences at leadership meetings.
  • Disengagement.

You also hear phrases like these:

  • “I’ve heard this many times before.”
  • “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
  • “We never get anything right.”
  • “Why didn’t they call me.  I could’ve helped.”
  • “Same ole.  Same ole.”
  • “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
  • “They don’t have a clue what they’re doing.”
  • “They’ll rotate off the Board soon.”

So the questions becomes how do you increase congregational trust?  Leaders increase trust by making and executing wise and timely decisions over an extended period of time.  In other words, get some wins under your belt.  This builds confidence and credibility allowing you to make more important decisions moving forward.

For example, let’s look at the life of David.  David slayed the bear, then slayed the lion, and only then slayed Goliath.

People trust leaders who:

  • Return calls within 24 hours.
  • Complete assignments with excellence.
  • Have everything ready when people show up to meetings or events.
  • Are proactive.
  • Show up to meetings prepared.
  • Don’t waste others time.  It’s the only thing you can’t give back.
  • Ask good questions.  Are a learner.
  • Admit mistakes and ask forgiveness.  Are humble.
  • Include leaders  at various organizational levels in the decision and execution process.  Frankly, they’re probably better at it than most executive leaders.
  • Have meetings before the meeting.
  • Put on good quality events showing you have given it much thought.
  • Deliver projects/vision meetings/process initiatives which answer the questions people are asking.
  • Demand and do things with excellence.
  • Have the courage to make hard decisions and be willing to live with the results.
  • Are committed to the vision and do not let others hijack it.
  • Build mutually beneficial relationships with leaders.
  • See potential in others and unleash it.
  • Showed you have studied and are prepared.
  • Finish on time.
  • Do things which are memorable.

These are things every leader can do to increase trust.  And when you do them, you will then gain the support, credibility, funding and trust to attempt even greater things.

Trust can be gained or lost by if you are making and executing wise and timely decisions over an extended period of time.  Make good ones and if you don’t know what to do, ask for help.  Trust me.


Original post can be found here:  http://pastors.com/two-surprising-areas-many-pastors-and-church-leaders-are-least-trusted/



What Kind of Leader Do They Want? by Jim Johnson

leadership qualities

As you may know, I’m working on a certificate in Executive Leadership from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.  In a recent lecture, Dr. Mike Crant shared the findings of a survey conducted by Kouze & Posner (“The Leadership Challenge”).  The survey was seeking to discover what 20,000 people thought were the characteristics of leaders they admired. In other words, if they could create their own leader, what would they be like?  Here’s what the survey uncovered:


18,000 respondents said they wanted honesty in their leader.  It was really important to them that they could trust their leader and that he/she had integrity.  Crant says that this is good news for leaders.  Why?  A person can control this.  We can choose to be honesty and trustworthy.  “The extent to which you are viewed as an honest person who manages with ethics and integrity strongly influences how people perceive you.”


People want to follow leaders who have a vision for where they are leading the team/organization.  There is an agenda (and it is communicated!).  Forward-thinking leaders have initiative and ideas for improvement – they are out to make something greater.


People want their leaders to have passion and be positive.  It’s true!  Energy and enthusiasm are contagious.  You’ve heard the saying “speed of the leader, speed of the team”.  Followers will copy the attitude and actions of their leader (like it or not).  Leaders are role models.  Just be sure, leader, that you are positively modeling positive attitudes and actions.


Dr. Crant says that followers want to trust leaders’ judgment and technical skills to make good decisions.  A leader has to “know their stuff”.


49% of those surveyed stated that they wanted their leaders to be fair.  Fair treatment increases motivation.  On the flip side, Dr. Crant states that unfair treatment leads to people to do undesirable things.


People want their leaders to be focused on them.  Who wouldn’t want a leader who has the attitude of putting his/her followers in a position to succeed?  This type of leader worksto remove hurdles for his/her team.

Dr. Crant summarizes this lesson by stating that leaders will build credibility by keeping these desirable characteristics in mind.  But note this:  the survey used in this study did not measure the effectiveness of a leader.  It only focused on traits that were admired by followers.

So, how you do think you stand up to these characteristics?  More importantly, how would your team evaluate you in this?