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Home » Behavior, Decision Making, Featured, Headline, Inspirational, Leadership, Managing Emotions

Credibility: A Leaders’ Toolkit

Submitted by on April 14, 2013 – 10:59 pmNo Comment


Author: Elvis Ukpaka

In your employees’ eyes, the totality of your leadership is dependent upon the things that they see you do. That means things like your ethics, values, morals, attitude, beliefs, character, skill, knowledge etc. are closely watched and examined by those you are leading. Your action as a leader counts a lot in achieving credible leadership. You see, credibility is a leaders’ currency. With it, he or she is solvent; without it, He or she is bankrupt.

Let us look at credibility as it is being stated using a metaphor: “It has been said that a leader with credibility has a pocket full of coins. As long as his pocket is full, the leader is believable, worthy of respect and able to be trusted. Each time a leader breaks a promise or acts inconsistently with professed values, he or she must pay out some of the coins in his or her pocket. When the coins are gone, so is the leaders’ credibility. No amount of persuasion or personal appeal will be able to buy it back”.

What is credibility? It simply means the quality of being believable or trustworthy. It is the amount of confidence placed in one on the basis of his or her credentials, track record, personality, knowledge or proven abilities. In order words, it is about reliability, integrity, sincerity and having a right standing known to others to be untainted. Therefore, credible leadership is the ability of a leader to demonstrate an exemplary lifestyle which others follow without iota of doubt.

A key characteristic of a leader is that they set high standards of accountability for themselves and for their behaviors. Credible leadership is achieved through both honesty and consistency between both the leader’s statement and actions. Credible leaders are straight forward with their subordinates and behave in such a manner that earns the subordinates’ respect and trust.

There is a particular law popularly known as the law of Indirect Effort. According to this law, most things in human life are achieved more easily by indirect means. In other words, you are more of a leader to others by demonstrating that you have qualities of leadership than you do by ordering them to follow your directions. Instead of working so hard to get people to follow your lead, you simply concentrate on living a life that is so admirable that others want to be like you without you saying a word. Hear this, having a title of “CEO” or “MD” does not make you a leader with “CREDIBILITY”. The former comes with position, the later must be earned. If you are in a position of leadership, do not be carried away by the euphoria of the title or position. In fact, that will be a fatal flaw because leadership is less dependent on title or position than it does by influence. Without credibility, power is virtually worthless.

To gain and maintain credibility while building your effectiveness as a leader, you should notice the following guidelines.

  • Set positive a example: Your life is meant to be a mirror through which others can see, make some adjustments and make corrections. When the mirror of your life is blurred, others cannot see clearly. Let me put it vividly the way it is stated biblically, “You are the light of the world, therefore let your light shine so that others can see it”. What does that mean? As a credible leader, set a precedence which others follow and live by. You see; your lifestyle speaks louder than your words. It is what people see you do that they first buy in before what you have to say.
  • Treat others with respect: You cannot receive what you are not willing to give. Respect gives birth to respect. Others will not respect you if you do not respect them. When you make people around you feel important, they feel respected and they are willing to pay you back. Use people’s name while speaking to them and make them feel respected.
  • Say what you mean and mean what you say: Your words are very important as a leader because people pay attention to what goes out from your lips. And when what you said yesterday is not consistent to what you are saying now, they wonder what kind of a person or leader you are. Remember, credibility when lost takes time to build again. So, let your yes be “yes” and your “no” be “no”. Let those around you know you for your word. Do not exaggerate but say it as it is. People trust you over time when they notice your truthfulness.
  • Acknowledge your mistakes: No one is above mistake but it is what you do after the mistake has been made that counts. As a leader, admit your wrong and apologize your mistakes. When the unexpected happens, you owe your followers some explanation and apology where necessary. It is a mark of strength and not weakness for a leader to acknowledge his mistake. And when this happens, the leader instills confidence, trust and loyalty in their followers.
  • Leadership is responsibility: When your leadership position or title becomes a platform to influence others to become better employees rather than bossing them around, you become a credible leader any one can be willing to follow till the end. Just know that you command lots of respect when those you are leading are motivated at all times to achieve more and are motivated at all times to achieve more and are willing to buy into your vision as a leader. According to John Quincy Adams, the fifth American President, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”.

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You may also want to join “Elvis Leadership Forum” on Facebook, where we discuss interesting topics on Leadership Like:

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  • Do you consider yourself a leader or a follower?

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About the Author

To gain access to more of Elvis’ tested wisdom and insight on how to achieve peak performance – and leadership – that gets the NEEDED results, go to, to signup for his Peak Performance Leadership Newsletter. You can reach Elvis directly via Email: or Phone: 234-802-367-1070.

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