Given the increase in organizational downsizings, layoffs, asset write-offs and executive bailouts, how important is the trust factor in defining a good leader? Without an established trust relationship a leader is unable to be effective. The problem to be investigated is the value of trustworthiness and ethical stewardship in the construct of the organizational leadership model. This paper shall explore the co-functions of trust and ethical stewardship and its impact on leadership effectiveness.
In 2012, there is very little allegiance or loyalty among organizational members. This is partly due to the recent increase in corporate scandals and the outsourcing of many jobs to foreign countries. Once upon a time in America, one could work a job and retire on that same job after twenty-five or thirty years. The days of working longevity and retiring from the same job are pretty much history. Because of this, organizational members have become distrustful of management. Covey realized that “low trust is the first chronic problem that all organizations face” (Covey, 2004, p. 107). This lack of trust undermines employee commitment and impairs wealth creation (Caldwell et al., 2010, p. 497). This paper will explore and discuss the value of trust and ethical stewardship and its impact on leadership effectiveness.
Trust and Ethical Stewardship
According to Ingenhoff and Sommer, “there is a confusing variety of different definitions
of trust” (Ingenhoff and Sommer, 2010, p. 340). Most logical people will never follow a leader that they do not trust- morally, ethically or intellectually. The author feels that a leader should be moral, ethical and intellectually knowledgeable of the subject matter or business in order for that leader to be effective. As Caldwell and Clapham suggest, “Each person makes a decision to trust based on a complex combination of demographic and personal factors” (Caldwell et al., 2010, p. 500).
In order for interpersonal trustworthiness to exist in organizations, a leader-follower relationship must first exist between the parties involved (Caldwell et al., 2010, p. 500). Once that leader-follower relationship is established, leaders have to earn trust. Leaders earn trust by their respective actions, morals and virtues. Trust is can also be based on past history. If something was done in the past which questions a leader’s values, morals or judgment, it would be unlikely that the leader would be trusted in the future. One of the most important parts of being an effective leader is building and maintaining trust. Trust can further be defined as a “multi-dimensional construct comprising different dimensions of the trustee’s attributes that the trustor evaluates” (Ingenhoff and Sommer, 2010, p. 341).
Ethical stewardship is a concept that fosters policies of fairness to all. Ethical stewards use guiding principles that are ethical and moral. Caldwell states that” The concept...