In the eyes of your employees, the totality of your leadership is dependent upon the things that they see you do. That means things like your ethics, values, morals, attitude, beliefs, character, skill, knowledge, etc, are closely watched and examined by those you are leading. Your actions as a leader count a lot in achieving credible leadership. You see, credibility is a leader’s currency. With it he or she is solvent; without it he or she is bankrupt. Let’s examine the way John Maxwell puts it: “A Leader with credibility has a pocketful of coins. As long as the pocket is full, the Leader is believable, worthy of respect, and able to be trusted. Each time the Leader breaks a promise or acts inconsistently with professed value, he or she must pay out some of the coins in his or her pocket. When the coins are gone, so is the Leader’s credibility. No amount of persuasion or personal appeal will be able to buy it back. Once lost, respect and trust take years to regain’’.
What is credibility? Let us look at it like this: Credible means capable of being believed. Credibility on the other hand, is the quality of deserving belief or confidence. It is the amount of confidence placed in one on the basis of his or her record, knowledge or proven ability. In other words, it is about reliability, integrity, sincerity, and having right standing known to others to be untainted. Therefore, Credible Leadership is the ability of a Leader to demonstrate an exemplary lifestyle which others willingly follow without questioning.
You know what? Having the title of ‘’CEO’’ or ‘’MD’ ’is not always linked with “RESPECT” and “CREDIBILITY”— the former comes with the position, the later must be earned. If you are in the position of leadership (or wish to be in the future), do not mistakenly be a leader with just power. In fact, that will be fatal flaw because leadership is less dependent on title or position than it does by influence. Without credibility, power is virtually worthless. To gain and maintain credibility while building your effectiveness as a leader, you should note the follow guidelines:
(1) Set Positive Example: Your life is meant to be a mirror through which others can see, make some adjustments, and take corrections. When the mirror of your life is blurred, others cannot see clearly. Let me put it vividly the way it is stated in the Bible: “You are the light of the world; therefore, let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works.” What does that mean? As a credible leader, set a precedence which others should follow and live by. You see; your lifestyle speaks louder than your words. It is what people see you do that they first buy into, before buying into what you have to say.
(2) Treat Others with Respect: You cannot receive what you are not willing to give. Respect gives birth to respect. People will not respect you if do not respect them. When you make people around you feel important, they feel respected and they are willing to pay you back. Use people’s name when speaking to them. Don’t say things like, “hay boy’’, get that document to my office now. In a place of work, when someone passes a pen or file to you, try to say, “Thank you.’’ It pays.
(3) Stand for the Truth: Be honest and upfront. Let your ‘’yes’’ be ‘’yes’’ and let your ‘’no’’ be ‘’no’’. Let those around you know you for your words. Do not exaggerate; try to always say it as it is. People trust you over time when they see truthfulness in you.
(4) Acknowledge your Mistakes: As a leader admit your wrongs and apologize your mistakes. When decision turns out unexpectedly, the leader owes his or her followers an explanation. Some people may see this as a mark of weakness on the part of a leader, but it will pay at the long run as it establishes trust, loyalty, and confidence by his followers.
(5) Leadership is Responsibility, not Prestige: When your leadership position becomes a platform to influence others to become better employees rather than bossing them around, you become a credible leader anyone can be willing to follow till the end. Just know that you command lots of respect when those you are leading are motivated at all times to achieve more, and this makes them become willing to buy in to your vision as a leader.
See you at the Top!
Dr. Elvis UKPAKA
Author. Trainer. Coach. Consultant
Lead Consultant, Visiondrivers Mgt. Consulting
+234 810 654 5127, +234 817 123 5284