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Posts Tagged ‘credibility’

Last week I talked about the need for company leaders to respond appropriately to crisis by keeping internal and external stakeholders in the loop. While a significant part of leadership success falls to communication skills, communication alone is not enough. Leaders must instill a sense of credibility among employees and stakeholders in order to make their messages truly effective. Employees need to know that those in charge are trustworthy and base their decisions on what is best for the company and its workforce.

In this video from The Washington Post, General Petraeus outlines what it means to be a credible leader. Some of the key characteristics of credible leaders include:

1. Sharing risk with followers. Leaders need to lead by example, and employees need to see them living the values they promote to others. If leaders can create a “we’re in it together” mentality throughout the organization, workers will trust their guidance and decisions.

2. Empowering others. Leaders can encourage creative thinking and more effective delegation by learning to empower employees. Giving employees the initiative and resources needed to carry out a project will lead to a happier and more productive workforce. Giving them appropriate guidelines to work within will ensure that the project gets done the right way, but it also gives employees room to innovate and try new things.

3. Being truthful and not evading questions or responsibility: The essence of credibility lies in trust. Credible leaders must be open and honest with employees if they want to gain their trust and respect. They will admit when they have made a mistake and will use the lessons learned to shape future actions. Leaders should also make themselves available to employees in order to clear up issues and promote a sense of accessibility.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: The Credible Company, The Transparency Edge, The Leadership Challenge

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