Focus On Your Actions, Not Just Your Words, To Boost Your Credibility
If you want others to follow your leadership, you must first establish credibility. Credibility is the foundation of trust and what promotes others to get behind you as a leader. Only with credibility can you successfully mobilize people around your ideas, strategies, and plans.
So how does one create credibility? Leading by example is an incredibly effective way to gain and grow credibility. Leading by example enables you to experience things first-hand, which creates deep knowledge and understanding that’s only possible through hands-on experience.
Leadership expert John C. Maxwell says a leader is one that “knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. Knowing the way is important, but going the way to gain first-hand experience is what creates credibility. Only with personal experience can you turn credibility into leadership and show others how to achieve their own success.
Treat Your Career Like a Continuous Journey
Industries, functions, and roles continuously evolve. If you’re not considering what’s next and plotting a course for progression, you’ll soon find you’ve been outpaced. Staying at the forefront of your profession positions you as a leader and someone others will get behind. Treating your career as a journey, versus merely a job, will help you focus on the future. You’ll be better prepared to take on what’s next and able to help others move forward.
Continuously Strengthen Your Expertise
The more you do something, the more you learn. Even if you’re doing something well today, there is no guarantee the same approach will produce outstanding results tomorrow. Even repetitive tasks and commodities evolve in the digital age, so it’s important you continually improve your skills and craft to gain deeper understanding and learn new improved ways to deliver outstanding results. Credibility requires that you’re continuously evolving your knowledge and experience so that your advice and leadership is current.
Build Complimentary Skills
Early in my career a mentor gave me this piece of advice. Instead of randomly picking new skills to develop, thoughtfully choose those that are complimentary to your existing skill set. Beyond expanding your skill set, you bolster your existing skills to become stronger in related areas. If you’re a strong public speaker, develop great visual presentation skills to improve the impact of your messages. If you’re a talented graphic designer, learn technology skills to expand opportunities to apply your craft. If you’re a great salesperson, improve your mathematic and financial skills to better negotiate on the spot.
Be Humble and Nurturing
People have a negative reaction to those that are cocky and boastful. Placing yourself on a pedestal is the quickest way to encourage others to stay clear. In contrast, being confident and humble makes you attractive and approachable. Combine in being nurturing to others by encouraging them to learn and grow and you quickly become someone that others way to be around and learn from. Let your actions speak for your talents and use your words to strengthen and grow other’s confidence and ambition.
Use Other’s Success To Measure Your Own Success
The best way to measure credibility is by measuring the success of those you lead and mentor. If you find that you don’t have a lot of mentees leaning on you or those you consider mentees are not seeking your advice and achieving outstanding results, it’s time to examine your behavior and actions. Keep a pulse on the number of people that rely on you for guidance and advice and the success they achieve. A large following of successful mentees is a great indicator that you’re a strong and credible leader.
Credibility is an important leadership characteristic, but is only achieved through a combination of knowledge and first-hand experience. That means beyond simply growing knowledge, you must lead by example and apply what you know to gain hands-on experience.
Treating your career like a journey keeps you in the right mindset as you develop yourself and others. Continuously strengthening your expertise helps you maintain a leadership position in your areas of expertise. Building complimentary skills makes you a better well-rounded leader. Remaining humble and nurturing others makes you someone people like to lean on. Measuring your credibility by the size and success of your followers lets you know your credibility is real.
Lead by example to demonstrate you’re a leader in character and in practice, and you’ll soon find that others have a strong belief in both your credibility and you as a leader.
Ask Yourself These Questions
- How well do my actions reflect my words?
- What areas of expertise am I most credible?
- What areas should I focus on to improve my credibility?
- What skills are complimentary to my current skills?
- Who are my mentees and how have I impacted their success?
About John Fildes
I grow the bottom line by connecting marketing to business strategy. By leveraging powerful positioning, content marketing, and client insights, I help CEOs drive qualitative and quantitative results at scale.
I've built an amazing network of incredibly talented people over the years. What I've appreciated most is those who have invested in me, mentored me, and helped me become the talented professional I am today. I pay it forward by doing the same for other high performing professionals and entrepreneurs.
All views are my own and not those of my current or prior employers.