In your employees’ eyes, the totality of your leadership is dependent upon the things that they see you do. That means thing like your ethics, values, morals, attitude, beliefs, character, skill, knowledge, etc, are closely watched and examined by those you are leading. Your actions as a leader count a lot in achieving credible leadership. You see, credibility is a leader’s currency. With it he or she is solvent; without it he or she is bankrupt. Let’s examine the way John Maxwell puts it: “A Leader with credibility has a pocketful of coins. As long as the pocket is full, the Leader is believable, worthy of respect, and able to be trusted. Each time the Leader breaks a promise or acts inconsistently with professed value, he or she must pay out some of the coins in his or her pocket. When the coins are gone, so is the Leader’s credibility. No amount of persuasion or personal appeal will be able to buy it back. Once lost, respect and trust take years to regain’’.
What is credibility? Let us look at it like this: Credible means capable of being believed. Credibility on the other hand, is the quality of deserving belief or confidence. It is the amount of confidence placed in one on the basis of his or her record, knowledge or proven ability. In other words, it is about reliability, integrity, sincerity, and having right standing known to others to be untainted. Therefore, Credible Leadership is the ability of a Leader to demonstrate an exemplary lifestyle which others willingly follow without questioning.
You know what? Having the title of ‘’CEO’’ or ‘’MD’ ’is not always linked with “RESPECT” and “CREDIBILITY”— the former comes with the position, the later must be earned. If you are in the position of leadership (or wish to be in the future), do not mistakenly be a leader with just power. In fact, that will be fatal flaw because leadership is less dependent on title or position than it does by influence. Without credibility, power is virtually worthless. To gain and maintain credibility while building your effectiveness as a leader, you should note the follow guidelines:
(1) Set Positive Example: Your life is meant to be a mirror through which others can see, make some adjustments, and take corrections. When the mirror of your life is blurred, others cannot see clearly. Let me put it vividly the way it is stated in the Holy Book: “You are the light of the world, therefore, let your light shine so that others can see it.” What does that mean? As a credible leader, set a precedence which others should follow and live by. You see; your lifestyle speaks louder than your words. It is what people see you do that they first buy into, before buying into what you have to say.
(2) Treat Others with Respect: You cannot receive what you are not willing to give. Respect gives birth to respect. People will not respect you if do not respect them. When you make people around you feel important, they feel respected and they are willing to pay you back. Use people’s name when speaking to them. Don’t say things like, “hay boy’’, get that document to my office now. In a place of work, when someone passes a pen or file to you, try to say, “Thank you.’’ It pays.
(3) Stand for the Truth: Be honest and upfront. Let your ‘’yes’’ be ‘’yes’’ and let your ‘’no’’ be ‘’no’’. Let those around you know you for your words. Do not exaggerate; try to always say it as it is. People trust you over time when they see truthfulness in you.
(4) Acknowledge your Mistakes: As a leader admit your wrongs and apologize your mistakes. When decision turns out unexpectedly, the leader owes his or her followers an explanation. Some people may see this as a mark of weakness on the part of a leader, but it will pay at the long run as it establishes trust, loyalty, and confidence by his followers.
(5) Leadership is Responsibility, not Prestige: When your leadership position becomes a platform to influence others to become better employees rather than bossing them around, you become a credible leader anyone can be willing to follow till the end. Just know that you command lots of respect when those you are leading are motivated at all times to achieve more, and this makes them become willing to buy in to your vision as a leader.
See you at the Top!
Dr. Elvis UKPAKA
Author. Trainer. Coach. Consultant
Lead Consultant, Visiondrivers Mgt. Consulting
+234 810 654 5127, +234 817 123 5284
Leadership cannot happen without effective communication. As noted by Richard Daft, a Leadership Professor, “leadership means communicating with others in such a way that they are influenced and motivated to perform actions that further common goals and lead toward desired outcomes”. Communication is a process by which information and understanding are transferred between a sender and a receiver, such as between a leader and an employee, husband and wife, doctor and patient, teacher and student, etc.
The leader (sender) initiates a communication by encoding a thought or idea, that is, by selecting symbols (such as words) with which to compose and transmit a message. The channel could be a formal report, a telephone call, an email or text message, or face-to-face conversation. The follower (receiver) decodes the symbols to interpret the meaning of the message. Encoding and decoding can sometimes cause communication errors because individual differences, knowledge, values, attitudes, and background act as filters and may create “noise” when translating from symbols to meaning.
We began this week on a series on emotional intelligence, also known as EI. Emotional Intelligence has been broadly defined as ones capacity to recognize his or her own feelings and those of others. In his ground breaking exposition on emotional intelligence, Daniel Goleman pointed that emotional intelligence encompasses two main domains: The personal competence and social competence. According to him, personal competence is the leaders’ ability to manage himself and his emotions. This actually has two parts—self-awareness (ability to read his own emotions) and self-management (ability to control his own emotions). Social competence on the other hand is the leaders’ ability to manage relationship and other peoples’ emotion. According to Goleman, this also has two parts—social awareness (ability of the leader to sense, understand, and react positively to others emotions) and relationship management (the ability of the leader to inspire, influence, handle interpersonal interactions, and develop others).
In these days of competitive markets, the business that excels at customer service is the one that will not only maintain their position, but grow. According to Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart: “There is only one boss – the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else”. I emphatically agreed with him. Indeed, Customers Are Really Everything (CARE). Therefore, if you don’t “CARE” for them, they will take “CARE” of their money elsewhere. Guess where? To your competitors.
You could answer the question "What is Customer service" by saying that it is about "exceeding" the expectations of the client, not just "satisfying" them. This is not just about the product or service that you are selling; it's about looking after the people buying them from you too.
In my last article, we began to look at “What Every Leader Wants In A Follower.” As earlier noted, leadership cannot be devoid of followers except it isn’t leadership. Great leadership calls for great followership. And a leaders’ success to a great extent is dependent upon good followers who are willing to go all the way in supporting the vision toward achieving a common purpose. Earlier we examined three of the seven things every leaders wants in a follower. Today we shall explore the remaining four as outlined below:
An Effective team member: The most valuable single factor that contributes towards high levels of excellence and quality in a team emanates from an individual team member's ability to work with others. The word T.E.A.M can be likened to an acronym that stands for (T=Together, E=Everybody, A=Achieve, M=Much more). Every leader wants to work with followers that support the teams’ effort in achieving their goal. No leader wants to work with a follower that distorts the progress of the team. If I may ask, do you consider yourself a “team player”? As a follower, take heed the words of Vince Lombardi, a renowned American Base Ball coach, that says, “Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work”. Leaders enjoy working with team players because their presence in a team makes a huge difference.
Demonstrate value-added: A chief executive officer of a company was once interviewed and asked: which employees would you keep? He replied by saying: “The ones who realize that every decision, idea, action, and plan must be linked to the long-term financial stability and growth of our company. I need to keep employees who are determined to add unique personal value in pursuit of that goal”. The question is: As a follower, what added value do you bring to the table that directly contributes to the well being of the teams’ success and to the overall well being of ensuring the success of your leader? You should understand that as a follower, your future of becoming a leader will depend on your ability to answer this question. Can you demonstrate to your leaders that you are capable to take the leadership role? Remember, until you have successfully followed well, you cannot take the lead. And as a follower, you are following well when it’s known to all, especially your leaders, that you’re actually adding value to the team.
The leader-follower relationship is an exciting one most especially when mutual trust and benefits exist between each other. In my previous article, I wrote on “what every follower wants in a leader”. It is also interesting to know that there are “what every leader wants in a follower”. Both the leader and follower need support from each other in order to achieve a lasting success. Leadership is not a one sided thing. As the saying goes, “it takes two to tangle”. That means success in leadership is not only dependent upon the leader but also on great followers. Naturally, it’s the duty of the leader to show direction, courage, care, empower, cast the vision, show the example, and thus, take the lead by being at the hot seat. It is also the duty of the followers to reciprocate in certain ways that keep the leader energized to do more.
The followers will get the best of the leader to the extent they are willing to support in the shared vision. There is an adage in Africa which says, “My front and my back view can never meet because they are forever in the opposite directions”. In the same vein, no leader can co-exist with followers who walk in opposite direction to the common vision the leader wants to achieve. A leader will go all out in enthusiasm and passion when there is a formidable team of followers in support of the cause. Leaders cannot work with detractors. Much as the leader is the ultimate encourager and motivator, they also need encouraging followers who will support them in giving more of themselves to serve the followers. Therefore, below are certain things every leader wants from their followers: