People look to leaders for guidance, support and love during trying times in their lives.
Folks look to:
- spiritual leaders
- business leaders
- political leaders
- family leaders
Picture gurus, CEOs, senators or family matriarchs to imagine a few leaders we all look up to for counsel, help and wisdom.
What leader should you trust?
Any leader who has:
- screwed up
- flubbed up
- made mistakes
- proven to be fallible, vulnerable and prone to failure at times
yet does an excellent job predominantly inspiring, uplifting, empowering, loving, caring and flat out freeing people, is a human being you can trust to lead you during difficult times and prospering times in various areas of your life. Why? They went through – and still go through – difficult times and prospering times. They know what it feels like, so they can relate to you and have you in mind, as a leader.
Trusted leaders spend most time and energy freeing followers, empowering followers, succeeding, winning and uplifting followers. But trusted leaders also mess up sometimes because trusted leaders are honest, genuine, and fallible, displaying fears and faults and shortcomings consistent with human beings.
The most uncomfortable point in choosing a leader is to accept the sour-fear-mistakes with the sweet-love-success. Imagine looking toward a CEO as a leader. The individual has shown a proven track record of leadership, boosting the corporate bottom line, uplifting people and supporting employees. But she or he also made a few rough mistakes in the process that hurt the company and hurt people too. Can you trust them? Yes, *because* of the few, isolated errors made, you can trust their overall leadership track record. Fabulous humans do an awesome job mostly and screw up here and there.
Who Not to Trust
The Dalai Lama noted once how he pinched his brother as a little kid. Before becoming enlightened, he wished to inflict a tiny bit of harm on a fellow sentient being. Even now, I recall this almost perfected human being became upset or even a little angry at the prospect of KFC opening shop in Tibet, during his days in his homeland. He knows the immense suffering occurring in the company's mass production factories.
Even enlightened beings are human. Humans experience the emotion of fear. Enlightened beings often did some not too nice things before becoming enlightened and even experience fear in rare moments because humans are….human.
So if an enlightened being is human, made mistakes in the past and still experiences fear and even a little anger now, any family, business, political or spiritual leader who claims to be perfect, who intends to convey a spotless track record and who flat out has zero shadows, demons from the past or who never appears to err or to admit to err, should never be trusted.
From moms, to dads, to business leaders, to spiritual leaders, to politicians, to teachers, the best leaders have failed their way to being a trusted, credible, empowering leader to cultivate qualities like:
- ownership or full responsibility for their life
We may look toward a family leader with a loving eye and in the same breath, say with a smile that the individual “was no saint.”
Why? Every saint was once a sinner and even saints mess up sometimes, being human.
Any leader who appears to be:
- beyond all other leaders
can and should not be trusted because you cannot trust someone who does not tell the truth. Sharing your wins, losses, strong points and flaws, successes and mistakes, and doing so in transparent fashion makes you credible. Covering up, masking or hiding all losses, flaws, fears and mistakes makes you not credible, and there, not worthy of being trusted, or of leadership.
Leaders who put followers and their well-being first, honestly, transparently and seamlessly share their failures, admit their mistakes and explain their fears to strike a strong, resonant, harmonious chord with their followers. Note how spiritual leaders, business leaders and even family leaders deeply trusted put follower's needs before their own while leading from genuine, authentic, honest fashion.
Meanwhile, a spiritual “wolf in sheep's clothing” , business charlatan or manipulating family patriarch or matriarch puts the focus on self, their power over their followers and on the obsessive need to always be right, to always know the way and to always be trusted, by default.
Ultimately, you are the leader of your life. But every honest, fallible human being looks to leaders from time to time. Trust empowering but flawed leaders and toss everybody else to the curb. A leader cannot effectively lead unless they know what it feels like to fail, to suffer, to fear and to share these aspects of their life freely and transparently.