Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

The Fundamental Currency of Leadership

Leaders typically have three areas of influence:  those that report to you, those that lead you, and those that are invested in your results. Sometimes these groups form as your team, your boss, and your investors. It could be your organization, your board, and the community you operate within. For a senior college student it might be underclassman, professors, and your parents or scholarship provider. Somehow, these three always exist.

It's important for leaders to work at developing influence in all areas, and the key to doing this is trust. It's the fundamental currency of leadership. Without trust, your influence will be reduced to simple positional or situational control, which is terribly ineffective in a creative economy.


Without trust, your influence will be reduced to simple positional or situational control, which is terribly ineffective in a creative economy.


How do you develop trust? Maybe the question is better phrased as, "how do you become trustworthy"? You are worthy of trust when people accept that you have their best interest at heart. Trust is also built on consistency and follow through. Do you do what you say? Are you authentic? Do you follow through? 

Have you identified your three groups? You should know who's looking up to you, who's invested in you, and who's over you. Be sure you're working to develop trust in these three areas by understanding the desires and needs of each group. What are they needing from you? It get's complicated the more public and higher your position becomes. Many times you have to prioritize. Sometimes you can't please all three constituents, but always try. This will exponentially increase your influence and, thus, exponentially increase your leadership effectiveness.

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