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Building Professional Credibility

Building Professional Credibility

Whatever you try to achieve as a leader relies, at least to some extent, on your credibility. If you have strong personal credibility, it makes everything you do inordinately easier.

Credibility galvanizes your team… it instills confidence in the people above you… and it ultimately becomes an integral part of your leadership brand. Without it, every yard you manage to move forward feels… hard. Credibility is the hallmark of all great leaders. 

It’s the type of credibility that’s founded in their competence, their values, their leadership approach and, ultimately, their results. And everyone around them notices—you can feel the difference! So what are the great leadership credibility builders?

Credibility starts with competence. This is your ticket to play. If you aren’t competent in your role, nothing else you do will make a noticeable difference to how people see you. 

And, for any senior leader, you need to understand the core competencies of business. There’s really nothing in business that can’t be learned. Information is now cheap, plentiful, and instantly accessible, sooooo… get it done!

What are the other factors that contribute to your credibility?

  1. Truthfulness. If you distinguish yourself as someone who tells the truth, even when the truth is hard, that does wonders for your credibility. 
  2. Accountability. Leaders who step into their accountability and take ownership are credible. Leaders who duck and weave, and blame all the things that are outside of their control, fundamentally lack credibility. Making excuses for your failures and missteps is a slippery slope.
  3. The ability to communicate persuasively. There’s definitely a skill component to this… and the door swings both ways. It requires high order skills in both talking and listening. It’s not just a matter of how you communicate with your people, but also how often. Most senior leaders talk too much, and communicate too little!
  4. Consistency. It’s important that people know what to expect from you. The adjectives that are often applied to leaders who aren’t consistent range from mercurial, to volatile, to unpredictable, to dangerous. Consistency makes people feel at ease, and it builds your leadership credibility.
  5. Flexibility. Having just said that you need to be consistent, credible leaders don’t get fixated on one way of doing things, or one solution to a problem… When they get better information, they shift their views readily. This isn’t the same as indecisiveness, or impulsiveness, it’s a demonstration of mental, emotional and psychological agility.
  6. The ability to get results. No matter what you say, how well you communicate, or how consistent you are, you still need to get results. Measurable, superior results.
  7. Congruence. This is often called authenticity, but unfortunately, I find that word has become overused and clichéd. I prefer to call it congruence, because it’s less loaded with aspirational righteousness, and it more accurately describes the alignment of your beliefs, thoughts, words, and actions.
  8. Grace under pressure. You can’t afford to be rattled by pressure. Inability to perform under pressure will kill your credibility fast. Anyone can lead when the going’s good – you only find out the true character of a leader when they’re thrown into the cauldron.

Building your competence, and doing the hard work to grow the other core capabilities of a great leader will give you the credibility that people need to see before they decide to go all in to follow you!

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