Credible Leaders: Make Your Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Credibility distinguishes a leader from an average boss. If your team knows that you will “stand by them” despite the odds, they will place their faith in you and your leadership.
But building credibility is not a cakewalk. It takes conscious effort and total integrity for one to walk the talk. Simply being a “leader by title” is not sufficient for you to win the hearts and minds of people around you. Therefore, you have to consciously dedicate yourself to sharpen your leadership capabilities to show that you can be trusted for who you are.
Here are 7 sure-fire strategies to help you invest in yourself and reach your potential:
1. Offer Respect
What you offer is what you get. Offer respect and be respected in return. It may sound cliched, yet many leaders struggle with this fundamental aspect of leadership and lose people to other organizations.
People won’t respect you for your title but for the qualities you showcase. They might approach you for direction but may not necessarily perceive you as a people leader. When people observe that your practices are centered around the ability to offer respect and regard, they will trust you. If you fail to do so, they will question every move you make.
2. Practice Integrity
You are not just in charge of leading your team to meet deadlines and targets. But the path you take and ask everyone to follow is a strong reminder of how integrity is a valuable trait in your life. People look to you for guidance and leadership in critical times and when things go downhill, they know that your priority is your team’s well-being.
People need to be able to trust you enough to know that you will take utmost responsibility and work toward the right solutions as opposed to the easy way out. Your team needs to know that you will always be part of the solution, not the problem.
3. Be Accountable
Leadership can be a lonely journey. While you are leading your team, a huge part of your role requires you to be alert, responsible, and in many ways accountable for your actions. You are responsible for your team as well.
If you drop the ball, assume responsibility immediately to fix it. Don’t dwell or fall into the trap of blame game or ignore it assuming it is “not your responsibility.” Mistakes and slip-ups are a shared burden.
4. Be Vigilant
As a leader, it is not just enough for you to be competent but also to keep your eye on the game and stay “in the know.” Your team will approach you for insights, ideas, solutions, and direction.
Successful leaders invest in continuous development. They never stop learning. They learn from various sources. For instance, formal training, coaching, peers, competitors. It is highly important to have that hunger to learn more, do more and be more. Your level of expertise will allow your team to turn to you for advice.
5. Become A Recognized Authority
Your ability to delegate effectively will ensure job satisfaction among your team. Continue to show that your promotion was the result of your strategic thinking and leadership capabilities. A credible leader is someone that other people reach out to to solve intractable problems.
You are an authority that people can rely on to tackle crisis or large-scale initiatives. If your expertise lags behind or if you haven’t sharpened your skills to stay relevant in the game, then it is definitely difficult to remain credible.
6. Deliver Results
Show. Don’t simply talk about it. Follow through on commitments. Take action and see it through to the finish line. Be brave enough to jump in and show what you can do. When there is a demand for an expert to tackle a sensitive client, situation, or project, put your hat in the ring.
Your credibility is not merely built by your ability to lead the team but by being a part of it. Your team’s success is your success. Show them what this means to you. Recognize, praise, and appreciate your team in public when you all have delivered results that are accurate and of high quality.
7. Communicate Your Vision
Every credible leader needs to have the right goals to work on things that matter. Ensure you understand your priorities well and communicate the larger purpose of “why” you do what you do to your team. A credible leader is the one who can clearly articulate goals to everyone so that they know what is expected out of them.
Set goals and track progress through regular team and one-to-one catchups. By staying on track with your progress, you will be able to diagnose which goals have outlived their purpose and which ones need to keep moving. Involve your team in taking ownership in meeting expectations. When you allow your team autonomy and creative room, they feel safe to experiment.
Putting It All Together
Credible leaders are mindful of their actions. They pause and reflect to know where they stand and how their actions impact their team and projects at large. The one who puts the team’s goodwill ahead of their own is a mark of a trustworthy and credible leader.
In the words of John C. Maxwell, “Credibility is a leader’s currency. With it, he or she is solvent; without it, he or she is bankrupt.”