Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

What Kind Of Person Do You Willingly Follow?

“The Leadership Challenge” by James Kouzes and Barry Posner is the essential text on the subject of leadership and leadership development (at least in my opinion). Based on global research, the authors distill 5 practices and 10 commandments for exemplary leaders. These practices and commands transcend culture and context.

It’s my indispensable resource for developing leaders.

Today, as I review some of my notes from the very beginning of the book, I find this statement:

“In every survey we’ve conducted, honesty is selected more often than any other leadership characteristic … it emerges as the single most important factor in the leader constituent relationship.”

This is based on global surveys that polled 100,000+ people from over a twenty year period who were asked to select seven qualities they would expect in a person whom they would willingly follow.


Integrity is the key factor we look for in leaders. Whether it’s going to a literal battlefield or one of the executive boardroom nature, we want to follow people we can trust.

And we will follow people we can trust.

Trust us the foundation of reciprocal relationships, whether it’s your spouse or your supervisor. Few people will go on a journey with someone you can’t trust. That’s the plot for way too many suspense and horror films. Trust is not something a leader should assume. It is earned. It is always earned.

It is the foundation of leadership.

Which is why honesty and integrity are critical characteristics if you’re going to lead.

So what are you doing to build trust with the people around you today?

If people trust you they will follow you. Willingly.

And you will find yourself leading - whether you have a leadership position or not.