3 Behaviors That Reveal Leadership Credibility

Bob Schultek Author of
The Gauntlet

When asked in several studies how they judge a leader, employees cite attributes like vision, experience, communication skills and others; but consistently, the dominant response is credibility.

When pressed to define “credibility,” people typically reply with a phrase like: “they walk the talk.” The consistency with which a leader’s actions align with his or her words defines leadership credibility.

These 3 behaviors reveal how consistently you act in accordance with your words and values:

1. How you spend your time.
The way you allocate your time sends a message. For example, if collaboration is a core value, then a portion of your time should involve directly engaging with others to innovate, improve or solve problems.

2. How you ask questions.
Words are powerful so choose them carefully. The questions you ask can stimulate action in a specific direction. To encourage increased collaboration, you might regularly ask each member of your team to describe the actions he or she is taking to boost collaboration. In a team meeting, seek to maximize participation and raise awareness about the variety of options by soliciting responses from each team member. But don’t ask questions you’re not prepared to answer yourself; you may need to share an example of your behavior to clarify what you mean and expect.

3. How you manage critical events.
Vital, stressful situations provide teachable moments and opportunities to demonstrate credibility. When a challenge arises, look first to yourself – accountability begins with you. Have your expectations been clearly communicated? Have you acted in accordance with your message? Could the challenge or problem been avoided if you had chosen a different message or action? Take responsibility, and then guide your team to follow your lead as an example of shared accountability, promptly identifying root causes and developing potential solutions; lead corrective actions by beginning with yours.

Leaders emerge because people decide to follow their lead. To make that decision, those you lead are constantly assessing your credibility. Credibility is strengthened by the consistency with which you model expected behavior within your organization.

How do you demonstrate credibility?
How can you be more consistent in demonstrating these 3 behaviors?

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