Credibility in leadership is important now, more than ever, because there is a good dose of cynicism in the workplace and our people are cynical about us as their leaders and in truth we can be cynical of our team members. Why? Well, we have been let down and disappointed so many times that we are constantly on our guard and often expect the worst.
The big challenge nearly everyone faces is that at times we are the only person on the team who sees the situation very clearly OR knows exactly what needs to happen next OR senses the danger in jumping to the action imperative. But, just because we are the leader or even the smartest, most perceptive, clearest thinker doesn’t mean anyone will listen if we don’t have any credibility within the group.
By the way, our credibility is decided by others – we don’t get a vote here. Our credibility can also only be built over time, so if you currently find yourself in a new position or company, people are going to take some time to check you out – no matter what you’ve done in the past, your credibility score is very low – perhaps even zero.
Remember that our credibility is ours to build or destroy, and is shaped by what we do, not what we say – our actions, not our words. People watch and judge us by what we do and most often the truth does prevail and, eventually, the foolish continue to make themselves look like fools…..
The big challenge we all face is how to build, maintain and retain credibility?
Here are our top four tips for building credibility:
1. We build credibility by being competent in our role. Competence is knowledge which is put into practice. If we know all there is to know but are unable to put what we know to good use we won’t be contributing. What are we doing, every day, to build up the competencies we need?
2. We build credibility by being humble. Being humble means we have a firm grip on reality, and we know our weaknesses and strengths. Humble people are patient because they know they will require others to be patient with them. Humble people are forgiving because they know they will someday need to be forgiven for their shortcomings. Humble people understand the dignity of people, look for the best in others, and listen much more than they speak.
3. We build credibility by being honest and living with integrity. Being a person of integrity is mainly about how we behave and has very little to do with what we say.
4. We build credibility by being transparent and having nothing to hide (especially our weaknesses, which most people have already figured out anyway). People all around us are asking…How can I believe you if I don’t trust you? How can I trust you if I don’t know you?
Credibility is defined as the quality, capability, or power to illicit belief. Can you honestly say that you have the credibility that creates the environment where people believe in you? Leadership requires credibility and business results will only materialize for those leaders with the credibility to enable them to get the best from their teams.
We’ve all met non-credible leaders – none of us like working for them. Build your credibility with others and establish your platform for success.