When you are a leader it is really important that you have leadership credibility. When you have leadership credibility, those you lead will follow you to the ends of the earth because they trust you, your decisions and your ability to lead.
This credibility is very hard to gain. Leaders constantly face the challenge of gaining leadership credibility from their followers. Additionally, their followers try to test their leader’s leadership credibility. Followers want to know if their leaders are really qualified to be their leader. They also want to be sure that the leader knows what they are talking about.
Gain Leadership Credibility
Leadership credibility is not something that can be gained over night. It is developed by consistent ethical and moral behavior. There are four characteristics that leaders should develop to build leadership credibility with their followers.
Leaders must be honest with their followers. If you tell lies, you will immediately lose the trust of those you are trying to lead. They will discredit what you say in the future and won’t believe you. They will also have a very hard time following you.
To build leadership credibility, leaders must show their integrity by doing what they say they are going to do. This means being upfront, transparent and consistent. The minute a leader does one thing for one person and something different for another person, he/she loses trust with the followers. The followers see the inconsistency and question how the leader will respond to them.
Leadership also gain leadership credibility through their competence. New leaders must know what they are doing. To be competent doesn’t mean the leader has to know everything or have all the answers, but they do need to have a basic overall understanding of the big picture.
Above all, the leaders must know how to lead and manage their followers. The leader must have some experience and expertise, but they don’t have to be the expert in everything. Part of the competence of the leaders comes from their ability to know how to leverage the strengths of all their followers for the greatest overall good for everyone involved.
Leadership credibility can also be gained by your ability to inspire your followers to do their best. When you can inspire everyone to get onboard with the organizational goals, you will be able to motivate people to do their best.
You can also inspire people by providing a vision of the future for them. Help them to see the success that they can have in their future it they take the appropriate steps.
Leaders must have drive. They must be driven to work very hard because the leader sets the example for the followers. When the leader is driven to work hard, it helps the followers know what is expected of them. A driven leader creates trust with the followers because they know the leader does not expect them to do anything he/she is not also willing to do.
What have you done as a leader to gain credibility with your followers?