Identity is composed of three primary components that can be viewed as the brain’s core subsystems – emotions, values and intellect.
Leaders function at their best – when they are consistent in their values, actions and words, and therefore, trust is high – when they are aware of their emotions and maintain a balance between emotions, values and the intellect, and when values are the leading subsystem in identity. When emotions remain outside of awareness, they – along with intellect – tend to drive the identity system. Behaviours that are inconsistent because they are emotionally driven are often rationalized, and it becomes difficult to have values that remain consistent. The result is that words and actions tend to be inconsistent and serve only the individual, who has little empathy or regard for others. The primary by-product is a decrease in open, honest communication, which over time, tends to lead to distrust.
When values are the driver – overriding both emotional reactivity and intellectual rationalization – words and actions become consistent, creating attitudes and behaviours that foster open, honest communication. This consistent communication in turn creates trusting relationships.