On leadership and trust

Dr. Conchita L. Manabat“Trust is like the air we breathe. When it’s present, nobody really notices. But when it’s absent, everybody notices.”–Warren Buffet

Stephen M.R. Covey, an American writer and a public speaker on leadership, in his The Speed of Trust asserts that trust affects two measurable outcomes—speed and cost. When trust goes down, speed goes down, and cost goes up. Covey defines the first job of any leader to be one that inspires trust, which is anchored on character and competence. Trust starts with the leader, that is, the leader should possess self-trust, as well as relationship trust, meaning, he should have strong trust with others.

In the opposite of trust (distrust), suspicion is the main factor. When there is trust in a person, there is confidence in integrity and abilities. But if there is distrust, there is suspicion on the person’s integrity, agenda, capability or experience.

“Smart trust” is prescribed with clear expectations and strong accountability. Covey cited that “the best leaders always lead out with a decided propensity to trust, as opposed to a propensity not to trust.”

Warren Bennis, a distinguished professor of  Business Administration at the University of Southern California,  in commenting on The Speed of Trust, claims that trust is the single most important factor that will determine the success (or failure) of any organization in the 21st century.

The Philippines is a country of more than 100 million Filipinos, mostly educated, peace-loving, hardworking and continuously seeking a better future. We were oozing with enthusiasm before, during and after the recent visit of Pope Francis.

However, the euphoria was put to an end with the deadly SAF 44 Mamasapano “misencounter” while performing a mandated task. Subsequent probes, expressed opinions, viral videos, etc., have brought to fore questions on the truth, leadership, trust, chain of command, “mission accomplished” and more.

Looking at the big picture, we are still a blessed lot. The very sad episode surfaced a number of serious concerns that may have been unknown to most of the citizenry. Not only has the sad state of the interagency trust relationship among the men in uniform been exposed but the seeming distrust even among the officials in the higher levels of the executive can be inferred from the probes’ proceedings. These series of probes will hopefully bring out the truth, put law and order where they are much needed, and pave the way for an appropriate leadership, enhanced governance and better ways of doing things.

We need to dream more and pray more for our own sake. If I may quote an unknown author:

“Organizations don’t fail, leaders do. The talent of the executive is matched only by the amount of responsibility and accountability that goes with the territory.”


Dr. Conchita L. Manabat is the president of the Development Center for Finance and a trustee of the Finex Research & Development Foundation. A past chairman of the International Association of Financial Executives Institutes, she now serves as the chairman of the Advisory Council of the said organization. She is also a member of the Consultative Advisory Groups of the International Auditing & Assurance Standards Board and the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants. She can be reached at clm@clmanabat.com.


1 comment

  1. Trust indeed is very important especially on a leader. The president lost much credibility related to his protocol bypassing decision to bless the Mamasapano operation and the subsequent unreasonable reactions/behavior in the aftermath of the tragic incident. Without the proper decisive leadership steps taken to closeout the issue, much time will be needed to temper the hurt sentiments of the public. The president is not the only loser but also those top caliber people around him who had hoped that they will be part of a very successful administration. It will be too frustrating and disappointing for them for they did their best for the last 5 years but their boss squandered it in one puzzling operation with no good fall back.What can these top caliber men do after the abrupt derailment of their efforts in the last year of a six year project? Plod along, coast down, create some magic? Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Article

Toyota to end expansion hiatus with new plants in Mexico, China

Next Article

Mobile money gains in PHL, GCash customers grow 25%

Related Posts

Read more

SEC warns vs investment scam operating on Facebook

DAVAO CITY—The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has advised against dealing with another investment scheme asking for as much as P500,000 for a profit-sharing program but which must be locked in for the next six months prior to claiming a promised high investment return.