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Lead From the Front



Late last year Trust Across America-Trust Around the World  published the first in a planned series of award-winning books.  TRUST INC., Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset brings together the wisdom of 32 experts. Six months later we released our second book, Trust Inc. A Guide for Boards & C-SuitesIn this book, sixty experts have joined forces to offer 100 strategies.

Throughout the month of August, we will be featuring 31 essays from our second book. Each stands alone as an excellent resource in guiding Boards and C-Suites on driving a trust agenda at the highest level in the organization, and provides tools for those who choose to implement trust-building programs in their organization.

This thirteenth essay in our series brings advice from  Joe Anderson, a retired Marine Officer.  Joe has held executive operations roles in Fortune 500 companies, been a business owner and is currently a Partner at Anderson Performance Partners LLC, working with organizations to improve business operations, processes and leadership. Joe works with organizations to uncover opportunities, and resolve challenges that organizations are sometimes too close to see. He has a successful track record in developing effective business leadership and business processes throughout organizations.


Lead from the Front

As a leader, you can’t ask an employee to do something you wouldn’t be willing to do.

When I was a U. S. Marine, both as an enlisted Marine and an Officer, a fundamental element of leadership was that leaders lead from the front, not from behind. If you’re going to ask a young PFC to lead on point, then you should be right there with him. If not there, he should know that you have been there. Showing that you care for your people and are willing to share their hardship builds trust and camaraderie between the leader and those they lead.

As a business leader, I found that far too many “leaders” led from their desk and had no idea about what their folks were doing or how they did it. A practice I implemented in the companies I’ve led was leading by wandering around, taking the time to sit with folks in their work area, learn what they did, how they did it and why. It seemed odd to new teams at first, wondering why I spent so much time away from my desk. My response was simple, my job is to lead and you lead from the front. If I ask you to do something, I should be willing to be a partner in understanding what you are doing, how you are doing it and what you face.

The practice served me well. I have never had filters between my employees and me, which has allowed me to be very connected to them, their work and their challenges.


I hope you have enjoyed this next sneak peak into our second book. If this brief look behind the door has been helpful, follow this link to order both of our books online.

And for those who want to catch up on the series, a quick reference on what’s been covered so far this month:

August 1: There’s a Reason Why We Call Them Trustees explains why being an “absentee landlord” doesn’t work.

August 2: Kill the Evening Before Dinner and take a small group of front line employees to dinner instead.

August 3: In Head of Business- Hope for the World we introduce the Winston “V” Model.

August 4: Reputation vs. Trust and why leaders should care more about the latter.

August 5: C-Suite Must Speak With a V.O.I.C.E. of Trust, a new communications model.

August 6: It Ain’t What You Do (It’s the Way You Do It) discusses an organization’s core values and traits.

August 7: Superficial CEOs and Their Boards talks about the fiduciary responsibility of board members.

August 8: Headline: Be the Leaders Others Will Follow we learn about consistency between actions and words.

August 9: Towards a Mindset for Corporate Responsibility requiring a shift in mindset on the part of boards.

August 10: Warning: Don’t Drown in the Slogan Swamp explores the (mis)use of slogans in corporate America.

August 11: Trust in the Boardroom in creating competitive advantage.

August 12: Three Ways to Build Trust  and organization that are blind to the dialogue.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

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Should you wish to communicate directly with Barbara, drop her a note at Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.

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