Become the person of trust
THE most valuable attribute of a person is his integrity. Trust is crucial in relationships be it within a family, a business, a church or in a friendship. With integrity, strong positive relationships are built, fed by encouragement and consistency. People who are trusted have developed their character and have earned the right to be trusted.
Thirty years ago, I read a book by Curry Mavis, Advancing the Smaller Church, in it he said something I still cherish today. He said the greatest problem in local churches is low morale. If you can lift the people’s spirits, then good things can happen. High morale is the result of the leader’s confidence and trust in the people he leads. Morale is conveyed through a spirit of common purpose and it produces a psychological well-being based on such factors as principle, conduct and confidence in the teaching of the church.
Trust depends very little on a person’s name, his station in life or how wealthy he is. The key to consistent trust is the character of the person who leads. Whether we lead at home, business or mosque, we are responsible for being trustworthy. We have to prove by example that we are as good as our word. There is no other way to establish a reputation for being trustworthy except to be trustable.
You can develop trust in people by applying the following principles. One: Demonstrate what you want to instill. People need to see what they ought to be. A cartoon punch line read: No matter what you teach the child, he insists on behaving like parents. That is certainly a humbling truth for all parents. When I discipline others, it is important for me to be what I teach others to do. The crucial truth is, we teach what we know. But we reproduce what we are. To teach others to do right is wonderful. To do right is even more wonderful. It may be harder to teach but it is easier to learn.
The great psychologist and author, Dr. James Dobson, in his books said, kids begin to buy into your spiritual guidance and direction in the area of values at about five years of age. At such times, you are the primary role model, the most significant person in his life! If what you say is different from what you do, your child will choose to imitate what you do every time. In the words of the great American essayist, Zig Ziglar, “your children pay more attention to what you do than what you say.” So the most valuable gift you can give to your offspring is the example of a clear, consistent and disciplined approach to faith in God. It is most important that your children see these things beginning in their earliest years. What they learn and establish in those years can go a long way in getting them through the tumult of adolescence.
Encouragement causes growth. It has the effect of a gentle rain, it causes steady growth. The secret of Andrew Carnegie’s genius for developing others was his ability to encourage good qualities while holding fault-finding to a minimum. Confidence withers under fault-finding. I am yet to find the person whatever his station in life who did not perform better under approval than under criticism. There are enough criticism in the world. What we need are more cheer leaders. You can learn to be an encourager by practicing the following: One, appreciate people for who they are. This is truthfully played out in the lives of children. They have a way of mirroring what they hear about themselves.
Two, anticipate people will do their best. By anticipating that, people’s vision of their future will become real, it will be easy for you to encourage them as they stretch. Raise your anticipation level and you raise their achievement level. Three, admire their accomplishments. Thank and praise the people for what they have done. Remember, man does not live by bread alone. Remember the effect of praise is electrifying. Finally, accept your personal responsibility for the people’s welfare. If you oversee people you are responsible to take the heat at times.
Again, let me emphasize the importance of character in developing trust. Bishop Abel Muzorewa of Southern Africa tells of a critical period in his life when he had been asked by his people to lead the African National Congress. He knew that all previous leaders in Rhodesia who had been critical of unjust government policies had been either deported or killed. As he did not want to be killed, he prayed and he was left unmolested as a pastor. If you believe in people, they will begin to believe in themselves. By helping others to become successful, you create greater happiness in the world. “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a life time,” a Chinese proverb. Which is why you should equip people for future growth. You and I cannot grow another person, we can only give him the equipment to develop himself. We do this first, by showing him that the growth is beneficial, we whet appetite for growth. Then we expose him to people like himself who have moved out and become successful. We prove that it can be done. Finally, we provide an opportunity for him to use his new equipment. Then we stand back and encourage. Always give the people the encouragement they need in order to succeed. Hearken to these seven action steps toward leadership. One: Leadership is being the best in your field. A leader sustains himself by his ability to generate new ideas. Two: Never mistake knowledge for wisdom, knowledge enables you to make a living, wisdom teaches you to make a life. Three: A prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to Allah and a scourge to Satan. Four: Character is more important than talent. Five: God never gives authority without accountability. Don’t invest in companies, invest in men who run them. Six: Your goal should be the purpose of every action you take. It is not ability but desire that creates success. Seven: Only leaders who cherish integrity does God reward with ability.
Our champion of the week is Rigoberta Menchu, the indigenous Guatemalan human rights activist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace in 1992. Menchu was a Mayan Indian of the Kiche ethnic group. Menchu has dedicated her life to publicizing the plight of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples during and after the Guatemalan civil war (1960-1996) and to promoting indigenous rights in Latin America. She is the subject of the testimonial biography, I, Reigberta Menchu (1983) and the author of the autobiographical work: Crossing Borders.
Her father, a leader of an organization opposed to the Guatemalan military junta, died while protesting human rights abuses by the military. Her younger brother was burned to death by a military death squad in 1979 and her mum was kidnapped and mutilated by soldiers the following year. Menchu then fled to Mexico in 1981. She was cared for in Mexico by the Catholic church. She later joined international efforts to make the Guatemalan government stop its brutal campaigns against the indigenous peoples of Guatemala.
Menchu gained world fame in 1983 with her book: I, Rigoberta Menchu, in which she tells the story of her youth and recounts in horrifying detail the torture murders of her brother and mother. She was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for her continuing efforts to achieve social justice and reconciliation in Guatemala. The Nobel Committee has dismissed calls to revoke her Nobel prize because of the reported falsifications in her testimonials. However, the Nobel Committee approved of her prize because it was not based exclusively or primarily on her autobiography. It said that her purpose in telling her story the way she did enabled her to focus international condemnation on an institution that deserved it, the Guatemalan army.
In 2007, Menchu stood for the presidential election in Guatemala. Had she been elected, she would have become Latin America’s fourth indigenous president after Mexico’s Benito Juarez, Peru’s Alejandro Toledo and Bolivia’s Evo Morales. Menchu was also a candidate in the 2011 presidential election but lost in the first round.
In 2006, Rigoberta was one of the founders of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. She is also a member of Peace Jam, a society whose mission is to create young leaders committed to positive change in the world in the spirit of Alfred Nobel