On Leadership and Your Credibility Assets

1970 Ford Mustang

I recall as a young teenager my father coming home from a trip with my first car, a 1970 Mustang. I was THRILLED!!

But there was a condition to me getting my car. I had to pay the note off at our local bank.

Establishing Credibility

My father had called our banker from Galveston, TX asking for a loan to purchase my first car. The banker told my father,

“Go ahead. Just drop by when you get home to sign the paperwork.”

I went with my father to meet our banker and signed my name on my first loan. For the next year I made monthly payments and hence created credit in my name.  I will never forget how proud I was to make that last payment and have that title placed in my hands.

My credibility was established!

Maintaining Credibility

A few years later I was shopping for a “family” car. From a car lot in another city, I placed a phone call to “my banker” (yes, the same one my father used).

He asked:

How much do you need? You got it! Just stop by the bank next week and sign the papers.”

What has happened to credibility today? Remember when a deal was made on a handshake (or a word over the phone)? When one’s word was all it took to be believed and trusted?

It seems in ,many areas in our society today we are returning to the basics, our values, ethics, integrity. Can a leader be a good leader in his or her professional life if their personal life does not reflect these character traits? I suggest not.

Consider the scandals of the past:

The good they accomplished was forgotten or overshadowed in the aftermath of the values displayed in their personal lives. So in order to have credibility one must have values, ethics, integrity in all aspects of our lives, personal and professional.

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A Credible Foundation

It has been said that credibility is the foundation of all relationships.

The formula is simple:

Good credibility = good relationships

Bad credibility = bad relationships

Now ask your self these questions as they pertain to you at home, at work, and in your community:

  • So, how does one establish credibility?
  • Is it a given? Or, is it built?
  • How does one become credible?

It is safe to say that credibility creates trust and that trust is the foundation of all relationships, personal and professional.

Integrity and Character

In his article “Why Leaders Fail,” Mark Sanborn from Leadership Now states:

“A leaders credibility is the result of two aspects: what he or she does (competency) and who he or she is (character). A discrepancy between these two aspects creates an integrity problem.”

“The highest principle of leadership is integrity. When integrity ceases to be a leader’s top priority, when a compromise of ethics is rationalized away as necessary for the ‘greater good,’ when achieving results becomes more important than the means to their achievement–that is the moment when a leader steps onto the slippery slope of failure.”

It is imperative to your leadership that you constantly subject your life and work to the highest scrutiny. Are there areas of conflict between what you believe and how you behave?

Try this, pull out one of your business cards. On the back write  your primary focus. Stare at this and make it real to yourself. Take the time necessary to get your focus back on what is important.

So, have you sorted through your personal, professional, and practical values to understand who you really are and what is your baseline of credibility? Have you inventoried your credibility assets to see “how much you have in the bank?” What are you doing to increase your personal level of credibility at home, at work, and in your community? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Lori Gilmore is a Training Technician for the State of Missouri.
Her goal is to inspire current and potential leaders on their journey to excellence.
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Images Sources: dabbleback.com

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