Nancy 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?
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.
Do you agree that "the key to trust, respect and influence is credibility?"
Why do you think it is so tempting to sugarcoat bad news or to minimize the effort and impact of chance?
Have you worked with a leader who gave you candid feedback? Describe the situation and the results.
What are the implications for leaders? For you?