Credibility is about how leaders earn the trust and confidence of their constituents, said James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of the landmark book Credibility. Credibility is the foundation of leadership. The meta message is leadership is personal. If people don’t believe in the messenger, they won’t believe the message. 

Through a survey in USA, Kouzes and Posner also identified the qualities that people most looked for in those leaders they would be willing to follow and they also identified specific actions that give leaders credibility. 

The top 6 leadership qualities in order of popular choice are: 

  1. Honest
  2. Forward-looking
  3. Inspiring
  4. Competent
  5. Fair-minded
  6. Supportive

Additionally, they identified the top 6 actions that leaders must take on a daily basis to earn credibility. They called these actions the ” Six Disciplines of Credibility”: 

  1. Discovering yourself – who are you and what are your values
  2. Appreciating constituents – know them and understand their needs
  3. Affirming shared values – find common ground, build a strong sense of community
  4. Developing capacity – help people to learn, unlearn and relearn
  5. Serving a purpose – leadership is a service to your constituents
  6. Sustaining hope –  inspire and encourage your constituents – leaders elevate the human spirit!

 

For new leaders who need to build personal credibility, Professor Michael Watkins of Harvard University in his book First 90 Days, said that new leaders are perceived as more credible when they are:

  1. Demanding but able to be satisfied
  2. Accessible but not too familiar
  3. Decisive but judicious about important issues
  4. Focused but flexible
  5. Active without causing commotion by pushing people too hard
  6. Willing to make tough calls but also humane

To find out how you can build your leadership credibility, regardless of your industry or organisational context, sign up for our 2-day Effective Manager Program (EMP) conducted at the 5-star Hilton Hotel Singapore.