top of page
  • Writer's pictureNancy Dering Mock

The Key to Trust, Respect and Influence

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Time and time again, research and polls tell us that one of the hallmarks of effective leadership is credibility. In this context, credibility is the belief by followers that a leader is a reliable source of information. It builds respect for and trust in the leader and expands the leader's influence with individuals and groups.

But what does credibility look like? What are the practices and actions credible leaders take?

  1. Be candid about yourself. If you don't know, admit it. If you are conflicted, say it. If you haven't decided, explain it. "I am still sorting this out" goes a long way. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it.

2. Do not sugarcoat bad news. It is far better in the long run to share bad news than to

hide it. It is better to explain what you can, acknowledge disappointment (yours and

theirs) and describe and discuss the implications for your team moving forward.

3. Perfect your ability to give candid performance feedback. This is an essential skill

shaping the performance of your team collectively and individually. No one grows or

improves with vague, unhelpful comments, or worse, none at all. This is not critical or mean-spirited, but a clear description of conduct or performance and what needs to change or be improved. Your team members will actually respect you in the long run for being candid with them.

4. During change or upheaval, do not prevaricate. It may be tempting during times of

change or uncertainty to minimize the effort needed ("We can do this in our sleep."), the

impact of disruption ("You'll hardly notice the change."), and the difficulty in learning and

adapting required ("You'll pick it up in no time.") While it may provide temporary comfort,

minimizing what it's going to take undermines the leader's credibility downstream when

team members experience the disruption and more fully understand the extent of learning and adaptation expected of them. They may conclude that they have been

deliberately deceived, consequently eroding their trust in the leader.

It takes courage to be candid about yourself, to share bad news, to give useful feedback, and to be fully honest about difficult situations. But, this is exactly what credible leaders do. And, in doing so, they build trust, engender respect and broaden their influence.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. Do you agree that "the key to trust, respect and influence is credibility?"

  2. Why do you think it is so tempting to sugarcoat bad news or to minimize the effort and impact of chance?

  3. Have you worked with a leader who gave you candid feedback? Describe the situation and the results.

  4. What are the implications for leaders? For you?

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

There is possibly nothing more dispiriting than a leader who is "phoning it in." A half-hearted approach to leading can spread a spirit of mediocrity and malaise throughout a team or organization. But

Although it's rarely mentioned in a list of leadership competencies, nor listed on a performance review, the ability to persevere - to be steady and persistent despite difficulties, obstacles or disco

Much has been written about empathy and its importance in understanding and relating to other people. Empathy is the ability to recognize and understand the thoughts and feelings of others. For everyo

Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page