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The Champion Forum Podcast

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How To Be A More Credible Leader

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! In a world of change and uncertainty, developing leadership credibility should be a top priority for every leader. Credibility transcends just having tenure and results. Credible leaders are mindful of their actions. They pause and reflect to know where they stand and how their actions impact their team. Today, we will talk about how to become a credible leader and the impact it can have on your team.

Characteristics of Credible Leaders

1. Regulate Your Emotions

As a leader, getting swept up in gossip, manipulation, and politics decreases your credibility. You can’t avoid having emotions toward everything that goes on at work, but you can choose how you respond. High emotions make you believe it’s time to act when they are actually a sign that it is time to pause. Consistently regulating your emotions will allow you to gain the respect of the people you lead. People will know what to expect from you, even in the most adverse times.

2. Value Respect Over Likeability

Being liked is not a leader’s ultimate goal. Doing things to gain people’s approval without taking action to support your team will get you labeled as a phony. The key here is to make significant deposits with your people. The more you support your team personally and professionally, the more you can call on them when you need help. Do what you can to help yourself and your team grow consistently. Here are some practices you can implement that will help you achieve this goal:

  • Hold periodic meetings and offer tips for improvement.

  • Regularly share professional development resources with your team members.

  • Consider establishing a peer mentoring program.

  • Encourage your team to establish goals and work with them to complete the goals.

  • Praise team members' performance publicly and give constructive feedback in private.

  • Seek feedback from the people who report to you, listen to concerns, and be open to new ways of doing things.

  • Take responsibility for your errors and set an example of how to bounce back.

3.  Be Transparent

People trust what they can see. When you're open and honest, others don't have to guess what your motivations or intentions are. Remember this when you interact with your clients, team, or suppliers. You inspire trust when you talk openly about your intentions, values, goals, and results.

4. Invest Time in Understanding the Team

Time is a valuable asset; when we give it away as leaders, it is the strongest gift we can give. Time allows you to not only reproduce yourself in others but also understand your team on a deeper level. Learn about your team’s strengths, challenges, and weaknesses. 

Understand what motivates them, why success is important to them, and their short-term and long-term goals.

Q: Think about a leader you respect. What did they do that helped earn your trust? Have you ever had a leader break your trust? Describe what happened. Were they able to earn your trust back? Why or why not?

Application Activities:

  1. Consider how other people act toward you. Have you established yourself as a credible leader? Decide whether the statements below are true or false.

  • People come to you for advice.

  • People are willing to share private information with you.

  • You are asked for help on projects.

  • You are trusted with important projects or clients.

  • People make eye contact and have an open stance around you.

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you are likely seen as a credible leader! If not, consider what might make people feel guarded around you. Do you speak before you listen? Do you share private information? Do you often focus on your work and keep to yourself? Work with a trusted peer or mentor to help you better understand these blind spots and create a plan to improve your leadership credibility.

  1. Emotions aren’t bad. In fact, emotions at work often result from how much you care for your clients, family, and co-workers. However, you must know how to navigate your emotions at work to be considered a stable, reliable leader. Having a response prepared for emotional moments can help you take some time to calm down before you have to answer. 

For example: “I really care about this project, and I’m having difficulty separating my emotions from this information. Let me take some time to go over what you presented. Can we meet again at 3:30 to go over the next steps?” 

“It seems like things are getting heated. Can you help me understand what your goals are for this meeting so we can keep the focus on what we are trying to accomplish?”

Take a few deep breaths when you can’t take a full break. Then, break down the situation so you only look at the information, not the emotions. Don’t be afraid to follow up with people and own your failures if you make a mistake during the conversation.

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