“The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led — is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” ~ Brian Tracy
Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington (The Clark Institute of Art)
Perhaps the most trusted American of all time was George Washington. Washington led our nation militarily and then politically during its troubled infancy, maintaining his vision and composure throughout a painful period of deprivation and uncertainty. Even after winning the War of Independence, the country was deeply divided. About one-third of the nation supported the new regime. Another third was neutral. The final third remained loyal to the king of England.
Washington led this divided country with resolve and integrity. Though aloof to a fault, he retained the people’s trust because he acted with humility and not self-righteousness. Personal gain was not his goal. Instead, the general-turned-president focused his energies on maintaining and strengthening the principles of a democratic republic. This is why he was dubbed “The American Cincinnatus.” Like the famous Roman, he won a war and became a private citizen instead of seeking power or riches as a reward. He insisted on simple titles, such as “Mr. President,” rather than anything that spoke of aristocracy and grandeur.
Leaders in all contexts must build trust in order to achieve their goals. In fact, some, like business consultant Cynthia Olmstead, maintain that the fundamental difference between the enterprises and change initiatives …