Sunday, 29 November 2015

“Trust Comes from Transparency, not Titles” ―Professor M.S.Rao

“No ruler can establish himself without trust from the people.” — Confucius

Some leaders often think that they can build trust in others easily since they have titles. But the fact is that trust comes from transparency, not from titles. Additionally, leaders cannot earn respect due to their positional power. However, they can earn respect due to their referent power. Positional power is offered by organizations to accomplish organizational goals and objectives whereas the referent power is earned by leaders through trust and transparency. That means leaders must earn trust and be transparent to enjoy referent power to achieve organizational objectives effectively.  We will explore trust, transparency and titles in this article. 

Emphasize Referent Power, not Positional Power

“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” — Dalai Lama

There are many leaders who lost their image and respect when they resigned their positions or lost their titles. However, there are leaders who succeeded even after quitting their positions and titles because they cared for people, not their titles when they were in office.  When you look at Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Dalai Lama, they never craved for their titles. In contrast, they cared for their people, walked their talk and led by example to build trust in others. These leaders are above their titles. Similarly, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who is known as a people’s president was a great scientist and humanist. After quitting the office as president of India, he earned more respect due to his dedication to country and the difference he made in Indian people and students.

Changing Global Mindset

"The glue that holds all relationships together--including the relationship between the leader and the led--is trust, and trust is based on integrity." — Brian Tracy

Globally there is a drastic change in the mindset of the people. Previously consumers and clients emphasized more on quality products and services. However, presently they emphasize more on transparency and ethical practices by organizations because only when the organizations are ethical, they will be able to offer quality goods and services to their customers and clients.

It is a myth to believe that being transparent will be viewed as less authoritative. The fact is that people aspire to relate with their leaders who have undergone similar trials and tribulations and peaks and valleys. People are intelligent to identify who are fake and trustworthy leaders.  Remember, people always respect transparent leaders in the long run.


It is rightly remarked, “Respect is earned, Honesty is appreciated, Trust is gained, Loyalty is returned.”  When leaders lack commitment, they lose trust and confidence from others resulting in losing respect from people. When leaders are not transparent in their words and deeds, they lose their respect. They also lose their titles along with respect. Hence, be transparent to build trust in others to earn respect to grow as a great leader.

“Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.” — Brian Tracy

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Professor M.S.Rao, India
Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India
Listed in Marquis Who's Who in the World in 2013
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