How Leaders Can Earn Credibility

In business, seamless productivity is the goal. Managers aiming to maximize the efforts of their workforce have to prove themselves worthy of the challenge. No matter their skill set, responsibilities or on-the-job attitude, all employees hold a stake in the outcome of a business. As such, they reap the results of a manager’s choices. They realize the threat posed by shaky decision making. And when a workforce is plagued with doubt, it’s leader’s ability to supervise only further deteriorates. On the other hand, managers that build credibility earn from employees the workplace’s most valuable commodity: trust.

Here are a few simple ways that leaders can cement their credibility, and win the trust of employees.


Achieve Results

While it may seem intuitive, one core way to earn credibility is to fulfill the chief duty of management: getting things done right. When results are positive, you automatically win credibility as a leader. The exact amount of credibility gained will vary between employees, based on your methods–for example, some workers may appreciate a laissez-faire approach, while others value more direction–but no one can argue with results.


Be Open and Direct

Some managers withhold critical information, out of fear that bad news may breed negativity. This kind of patronization only alienates people. Few employees appreciate a manager who thinks they’re too fragile to function knowing the facts, however cold and hard those facts may be. Instead of playing gatekeeper in a misguided attempt to shelter employees from the truth, managers are better off being up front. If you don’t want workers to resent you, level with them. Doing so shows respect for employees’ intelligence and agency: a respect they will reciprocate by considering you credible.


Don’t Dodge Difficult Choices 

Coasting by on a series of successes is easy, but fleeting. Eventually, even the most prosperous enterprise will face circumstances that need to be mediated. When the time comes, credible leaders don’t shy away. They step up. Deferring the hard decisions to those less qualified or situated to make them is a guaranteed way to damage not just your personal credibility, but the efficiency of the entire business.


Set a Strong Example

Employees aren’t as gullible or blind as managers with a habit of hypocrisy might prefer. Being the leader means falling under constant scrutiny, and workers are unbelievably adept at detecting when supervisors operate by a double standard. To win credibility as a leader, it’s best to behave like you aren’t above the law of the land. Leading by the standards you preach multiplies the likelihood that employees won’t look to undermine those rules.

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