Good leaders build trust

I sat with a friend recently to listen to President Obama’s address to a joint-session of Congress and to us, the people of the United States of America. In the past, presidents have taken this opportunity to lay out their plans and goals to Congress. Former President Clinton was famous for his 10-point plans that were intended to be carried out by the politicians elected by the people. But President Obama’s speech was much different. And here’s why – he communicates trust. The friend I was with is actually not as deeply into politics. She typically doesn’t watch the State of the Union address, could care less about polls and popularity statistics, and has never really “trusted” much of what Presidents or politicians have had to say. I think she swayed a bit this time though. “He’s not reading his speech or looking at a teleprompter,” she said. I know, I said, he speaks from his gut, his passion place. “I actually understand what he’s saying,” she said. “All of these economic problems make a little more sense to me after hearing him.” Yes, I said, he’s really not addressing Congress, he’s talking to us, the people that this recession is most affecting. Although his presidency has just begun, what makes President Obama soar with approval ratings hovering around 60 percent, is that people trust him. He has found a way to walk the fine line of delivering the truth (which at the moment is pretty scary) infused with hope. For about an hour, he spoke from his heart in a way that everyone could understand. And while his task at hand is probably like no other he’s ever tackled, he showed a strong sense of confidence and control that while it may take some time, as a nation we will get to the other side. I challenge you to take a look at how you interact with your customers. Are they afraid of what affect this recession will have on them? What can you do to build their trust in you? How can you deliver the truth, infused with hope, so that both you and your customer, come out of this recession prosperous?

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