When asked how they judge a leader to be credible, people will typically respond with a phrase like: “they walk the talk.” Indeed, the consistency with which actions match words defines leadership credibility. And the level of that consistency is determined by how aligned your words and actions are with your personal values and those of your organization.
These 3 scenarios reveal how consistently you communicate and act in accordance with your values:
- How you spend your time.
The way you allocate your time sends a message. For example, if collaboration is a key value, then a portion of your time must be committed to engaging with others to innovate, improve or solve problems.
- How you manage critical events.
Vital, stressful situations or challenges provide teachable moments, presenting opportunities to demonstrate your values. Have your expectations been clearly communicated? Again using a value of collaboration as an example, people who come unprepared to meetings, when preparation has been specified as an expectation, must be confronted, regardless of how high performing they are in their roles. Without consistency, your commitment to collaboration will be compromised.
- How you ask questions.
Words are powerful so they must be carefully chosen. The questions you ask can stimulate action in a specific direction. To drive stronger collaboration, you might ask this question on a regular basis: “What have you done this week to improve your level of collaboration versus last week?” Think about key words you can use that signify your commitment to collaboration. What words will send the wrong message and confuse your people? What questions can stimulate your team to align their thoughts and actions around a shared value?
Leaders emerge because people decide to follow their lead. To make that decision, those you lead are constantly assessing your credibility.
How are you strengthening your leadership credibility?
How consistently are you demonstrating your values?