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According to an annual report (pdf file), Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership has identified six factors that inspired confidence in leaders in 2009:

Trust
Competence
Working for the greater good of society
Shared values
Results
Being in touch

The National Leadership Index survey also analyses people’s feelings about leadership in the following six sectors compared to each other and previous years:

Military
Nonprofits & Charities
Education
Executive Branch of the Federal Government
Business
News Media sectors because of the contrasts in the confidence

Interestingly, since this report’s inception in 2005, educational leaders are consistently rated in the middle of the pack when it comes to people’s confidence in them.

Which begs the question: As leaders, what do we do, and how do we frame the conversation in order to inspire feelings of trust, competence, shared values, results, the greater good, and “in-touch-ness” (I’ll make up words if I want to) with those around us?