Discussion Board Forum 3 LEAD 510- Spring 2015 – Liberty University by Joyce Gerald

Why do you think it is so hard for people to trust others, and in particular, leaders? Under the best circumstances, how long does it take for people to trust new leaders? What are the variables that you have seen from your own experience that may make this time shorter or longer?

According to Max Depree, “Peter Drucker once said that leadership and faith share a common core. They are both acts of intention, and this leads to integrity. Integrity in leadership is at an all-time low, and people need a reason to trust in leadership once again. Leadership is barren and hollow when it does not have integrity at its core.”[1] In the current political and educational climate the populace has become disillusioned by the lack of integrity of its leaders.  Leaders of today have a track record of saying one thing and then switching when it is deemed politically advantageous. Senator Rand shifted his views and beliefs so much that even his own political party does not know what he believes – neither do the voters.[2] Governor Jindal, once thought of as a GOP candidate who could be the next president, does not appear to know if he is a left wing or right wing republican.[3] This flip-flopping from one political agenda to another has established an environment of distrust.

During three years of my tenure as the accountability administrator for a small school district in the state of South Carolina, the district experienced five superintendents in rapid succession.  The superintendent worked for two months worked at developing the credibility of the office that had been eroded by her predecessors. First, she established her character by stating, “God sent her to the district!” Then she established her competence by repeatedly referring to her degrees in administration. The person in question told the public that she had a doctorate in educational administration and supervision. Then she established clarity of purpose by presenting the district’s test scores over the last three years and the latest student achievement level. However, her plan was derailed when the local newspaper published stories about the track record of the top administrators whom she brought to the school district.  One was under suspicion of theft and the other was cited in the newspaper as abusing a student and physically assaulting a teacher. [4]  Trust was swiftly and immediately eradicated.

Aubrey Malphurs stated, “Even when you make bad decisions that result in major crises, you can regain some credibility and trust. . . . . the  five steps; admit the mistake, acknowledge responsibility, apologize, accept the consequences, act to correct the situation,  for recovering lost trust and regaining credibility as a leader.”[5]  It has been four years since the trust was shattered by this superintendent. She remains the superintendent but has a revolving door of administrators every year.  She did not follow any of the five steps that Malphurs declared would reestablish trust.  To answer the question, it does not have to take long to reestablish trust.  But it took an even shorter period of time to eradicate it.   If the superintendent had admitted that her choice of leaders was flawed, and then took the steps needed to listen to her stakeholders it would have facilitated the development of trust. Secondly, if she had networked with fellow administrators, more seasoned superintendents, and resolved the conflicts that were caused at the building level between inexperienced district level staff and seasoned principals, trust building through teamwork and consensus building would have saved her leadership.[6]

This writer observed an interim superintendent who established trust and confidence in the position of “superintendent of schools” within a two month period of time.  Intentional listening, truth in communications and transparency were the tools that he used.[7]  The superintendent brought family-of-origins issues into her superintendency that she did not address in her previous position, and it derailed her tenure.[8] If she had, “…. distinguish(ed) [herself] by hitting the trail of self-exploration early and being unrelenting in searching for clues to [her] own formation” she would have established a superintendency that was built on trust.[9]

Notes

[1] Robert J. Banks and Bernice M. Ledbetter, Reviewing Leadership: A Christian Evaluation of Current Approaches (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), Preface), Kindle.
[2] David S. Fahrenthold, “Shifting His Views, Rand Paul Seeks Broader Appeal – but May Risk His Outsider Image,” Washington Post, September 14, 2014, Sections 1-3, accessed March 28, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/shifting-his-views-rand-paul-seeks-broader-appeal–but-may-risk-his-outsider-image/2014/09/14/c89105c8-3869-11e4-bdfb-de4104544a37_story.html.
[3] David A. Fahrenthold, “Southerner. Wonk. Immigrants’ Son. Can Bobby Jindal Win at Every Role?,” Washington Post, March 14, 2014, Section 7, accessed March 28, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/southerner-wonk-immigrants-son-can-bobby-jindal-win-at-every-role/2015/03/14/eda87a74-be94-11e4-8668-4e7ba8439ca6_story.html.
[4] Aubrey Malphurs, Being Leaders: The Nature of Authentic Christian Leadership (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 57-59, Kindle.
[5] Ibid., 67-69.
[6] Ibid., 83
[7] Ibid., 217 and 83.
[8] Reggie McNeal, Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2006), 389, Kindle.
[9] Ibid.

Bibliography

Banks, Robert J., and Bernice M. Ledbetter. Reviewing Leadership: A Christian Evaluation of Current Approaches. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004. Kindle.

Fahrenthold, David A. “Southerner. Wonk. Immigrants’ Son. Can Bobby Jindal Win at Every Role?” Washington Post. March 14, 2014. Accessed March 28, 2015. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/southerner-wonk-immigrants-son-can-bobby-jindal-win-at-every-role/2015/03/14/eda87a74-be94-11e4-8668-4e7ba8439ca6_story.html.

Fahrenthold, David S. “Shifting His Views, Rand Paul Seeks Broader Appeal – but May Risk His Outsider Image.” Washington Post. September 14, 2014. Accessed March 28, 2015. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/shifting-his-views-rand-paul-seeks-broader-appeal–but-may-risk-his-outsider-image/2014/09/14/c89105c8-3869-11e4-bdfb-de4104544a37_story.html.

Malphurs, Aubrey. Being Leaders: The Nature of Authentic Christian Leadership. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003, Kindle.

McNeal, Reggie. Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2006, Kindle.

 

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