Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Credibility is the primary reason that people choose to follow their leaders. Numerous studies validate this fact. 

Credibility is the quality of being believed and trusted. It’s about reliability, authenticity and accountability… walking the talk, keeping promises.

People ask 3 questions to judge their leader’s credibility:

1. “Can I trust you?” Credible leaders understand that their actions live long after their words. Leading by example and fulfilling promises strengthen a leader’s credibility. Encouraging comparable behavior among all team members builds confidence that a leader is consistent and dependable. Being able to rely on a leader, to have a sense of the leader’s intentions and accountability, enables and sustains trust. 

2. “Do you care about me?” Credible leaders recognize that accelerating progress and creating value requires productive change. And they understand that change cannot be compelled – it can only be inspired. Leaders inspire by connecting the work of their people with the purpose and culture of the business, how it makes a difference for customers and the organization. When people experience a leader’s commitment to achieving goals, to encouraging their professional development, and to providing opportunities to participate in initiatives that will accelerate the company’s progress, it reveals that the leader cares about those they lead and respects their contributions to the company’s success. 

3. “Can you help me?” Credible leaders understand that actively engaging, crediting and coaching, and sharing experiences, ideas and suggestions present teaching moments – moments that are necessary for converting strategy into action, for cultivating innovation and for driving change. These moments pose opportunities to educate about the rationale behind a strategy or policy, or to share knowledge that can increase competency or encourage initiative. Resisting the impulse to abruptly respond to an inquiry, or to ending dialogue by promptly providing the answer, wastes a chance to help the inquirer learn, and perhaps discover how he or she can make a difference for the business. A leader’s most productive, impactful people want to understand how they are contributing. 


How would those you lead answer these 3 questions?
How frequently do you consider your impact on your people?