Leadership is not all that complicated. If a leader inspires Confidence, engenders Trust and commands Respect, people will gladly follow. On the other hand if a leader triggers doubt, engenders distrust and elicits disrespect, people will not follow.
Confidence is caused not by what you can do, but by what you have already done in situations similar to the one you are about to undertake that produced a positive measurable result (i.e. relevant experience + demonstrated competence) that is verified by outside objective evaluators. Central to this is a track record of making what Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis* in their book: Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls say are clear judgment calls that lead to positive results.
Trust is caused by doing what you say you will do when you say you will do it after you have made that judgment call. It’s also about accepting full responsibility for those actions and a willingness to deal with whatever consequences they produce. (Caveat emptor – leaders and follows must accept the fact that they have more control over what you do than over the results).
Respect is caused by clarity of purpose and commitment to it through action. It’s taking a clear stand (based on sound judgment) and standing up for it and standing up against those underminers, terrorists and enemies to the common good who oppose it.
I would be interested if readers agree with these elements as valid and if so how their leaders stack up when seen through this filter.