What People Now Expect of Leaders

An Interview with Ron Holifield

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How have leadership expectations changed over the past two decades? And what accounts for these changes? More importantly, how should leaders respond to them?

For answers to these questions, I turn in this episode to Ron Holifield, founder and president of Strategic Government Resources in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

For 20 years his firm has trained thousands of workers each year in city, county, and state governments across the U.S. and overseas. He has therefore worked daily with the changing expectations which workers have of their leaders.

In this podcast he builds the case that the pace of change, uncertainty, and ambiguity have left people hungering for leaders who will bring a a sense of stability and certitude into their lives. For leaders to do that, they must be trusted. And to be trusted, they must be values-centered and authentic. That is, they must walk their talk.

Workers, Ron says, are more skeptical than in the past, more willing than ever before to question their leaders' decisions and actions. This skepticism grows out of seeing organizational loyalty to workers dissipate in recent decades. Leaders, as the face of the organization to the workers, must prove their authentic care for their people, or trust will never develop its full potential.

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