The Law of Solid Ground is the 6th of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. It states that states that “trust is the foundation of leadership.”
While teaching a group of leaders on the Law of Solid Ground, I had a chair in front and asked for someone who is bold to come forward as I demonstrate this law.
A gentleman responded and came up to the front. I asked him to close his eyes and sit on the chair without looking back. He closed his eyes but the next thing he did really caught my attention: he stretched his hands backward to make sure chair was there before he obeyed the second part of my instruction—to sit down.
I asked him why he checked to be sure that the chair was there before sitting down, he said, “Because I didn’t trust you.” We all laughed at the illustration but this very true of our leadership.
Strategy vs. Character
General Norman Schwarzkopf says “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy.”A lot of today’s leaders build on strategy and ignore their character until their character breaks all they’ve built.
Your Character Communicates
- Consistency: If your followers don’t know what to expect from you as a leader, at some point, they will stop looking to you for leadership.
- Potential: You have a greater potential to achieve your dreams if you have a great character. Talent alone is never enough.
- Respect: Respect is essential for lasting leadership but you can’t earn respect without if you don’t have the character within.
“The only thing that walks back from the tomb with the mourners and refuses to be buried is the character of a man. What a man is survives him. It can never be buried — J. R. Miller
Action points to obey the Law of Solid Ground
If you want to build and strengthen your character:
- Lead in such a way that your followers can openly share their opinions with you—even negative ones.
- Do your organization, colleagues, and leaders consistently put their trust in you?
- Be intentional about consistently carrying weighty responsibilities. This shows that people can trust you.
- Make it a practice to develop your character as much as you develop your professional ability. Don’t forget that your character, if not built, can mar your competence.
- If you have broken trust with others in the past, take time to apologize to whomever you have hurt and commit to work at re-earning their trust.
- Remember that the onus is not on people to trust you; the onus is on you to earn it.
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