BY: Brett Detken
Have you ever had a cringe worthy moment? You know, those leadership moments, that when you STILL think back on them, you get that sinking feeling down in your gut!
I remember a time when I believed (really….I really believed!) that my boss needed to hear my opinion about how bad his ideas were IN THE MIDDLE of staff meeting! UGH! Cringe!!
I mean somewhere down in my young, inexperienced brain, I believed that because I had been on staff for a whole year (yes, insert eyeroll here) that I had a right to be heard! Luckily, my boss was very gracious and instead of firing me, gave me a chance to learn one of the most important lessons of leadership. And here it is: In any organization, you may be given a job, but you always have to earn credibility.
Whereas, character is about who you are, credibility really does come from what you do. Credibility is how you establish your reputation and it is how you build trust in an organization. And honestly, this is something leaders often forget to do. We often forget we need to earn credibility in order to be influential in any organization. Credibility, or the right to be heard, is always earned, and never just given.
So how can we as leaders earn credibility?
● BY DOING WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL DO: It’s so simple, but the first way to earn credibility is simply by being faithful to what you are already doing. Leaders who are clear, consistent, and who follow through on their commitments, earn the right to be heard. And more than that, leaders who do what they say they will do with the right attitude, earn more than credibility…they earn favor. So, if you want to influence your organization, be consistent in what you are doing RIGHT now. Do it well, do it faithfully, and soon your influence will grow.
● BY DOING WHAT’S RIGHT EVEN WHEN HARD: The second way to earn credibility is to choose to do what’s right even when it’s difficult. Finding the courage to make changes when unpopular, enter into conflict when uncomfortable, and take risks even when unfamiliar, is what creates a lasting legacy and earns leaders the right to be heard in the future.
● BY PURSUING UNITY: Finally, a key to earning credibility in your organization as a leader, is by relentlessly pursuing unity. Meaning you will do whatever it takes to root out a critical, toxic or divisive spirit, and instead choose to lift up those above you, beside you, and below in your organization.
Building trust, respect, and credibility is one of the most important things any leader can do in their organization. It will take time, but as your credibility grows so will your influence.
So here’s a question:
Out of these three things above, what is one step you can take to earn credibility?