Have You Checked Your Credibility Lately?


Two things I've got on my mind lately are writing and credibility. I"ll take up writing and the anti-writing demon I'm reading about in a separate post. But I do want to toss out some thoughts about credibility.

When was the last time you were asked to decide a black and white issue? Keep thinking . . . keep thinking . . . got one yet? The last time I was asked to decide a black and white issue I told the group to do an about face and come back to me with the answer, but I digress. Why is it that issues are never black and white?

When was the last time you were advocating for a course of action and the final decision was being made by someone else? And it was anything but black and white? And the decision hinged on your credibility? 

Pick a day, any day, and welcome to my world.

In Leader's Credibility is Golden John Baldoni writes,"credibility is a leader's coin of the realm." And it's up to each individual leader to guard their own credibility. Character matters.  "Leaders are judged by what they do, not what they are. Little good can come from being good; you must do good things. You must be stalwart in the face of crisis. Be the rock for your team to stand upon when times are tough. And be in the shadow when success arrives. "

Being a stalwart in the face of crisis and being a rock for the team . . . here in lies a credibility challenge. When mistakes are made and service is not delivered there is a fine line between a leader supporting her staff and absorbing the hits and in doing so to a fault. There are conversations to be had and expectations to be set (bravery required) and when this is not done it is not done to the fault of the individual, to the team, and to the leader's own credibility with her boss, her staff and her colleagues too. As obvious as this sounds, it's not. And just when you think you've got this leadership thing down, you realize it really is an art and not a science. 

You have credibility currency. You trade in it and on it regularly, whether you are aware of it or not. So, if you regularly own responsibility for missed expectations of members of your team yet shield them (and maybe even yourself) from the discomfort - stop that right now. You are trading in a little bit of leadership credibility each and every time you do so.

How do you know the bank is getting low? It could be a long sigh, an extended silence, a scratch of the forehead or a peer over the reading glasses but make no mistake, it's a credibility assessment in progress. Get it together and pay attention so you can be supported with confidence and not a question.

So, how's your credibility these days?