Personal credibility is based upon a leader’s character and integrity and the actions and behaviors that stem from them. Far from perfect, many of the leaders I surveyed had character flaws and displayed at times, questionable ethical behaviors. Yet their personal credibility remained intact. So it is safe to ascertain that perfection is not humanly expected and attainable as a leader, but self-awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses is essential. It reflects both maturity and authenticity, which only then serves to enhance a leader’s personal credibility.
An observance of the absence of self-awareness resulted in a strong emergence of arrogance and hubris that diminished and ultimately destroyed credibility on all levels.
Obviously unless problematic or weak leaders make concerted efforts to change their character and integrity, they are remain unalterable. However leaders do have control over the actions, behaviors and decisions that influence and shape their personal credibility. This once again involves self-awareness as well as comprehensive critical thinking abilities to examine the consequences of both their long and short-term actions. All leaders have choices, but the right choices demand a leader’s willingness and acquiescence.
Leaders must also be cognizant of their levels of personal credibility on all of their key constituencies. In the current environment where short-term profitability is emphasized, many leaders damage their credibility by only focusing on their shareholder expectations at the expense of their other constituencies. My research demonstrates this can be fatal. The leaders listed as “Worst CEOs of All Time” by Portfolio Magazine commonly practiced it. This imbalance ultimately leads to a loss of validity.
There are six recommendations you can take to enhance your personal credibility:
- Develop an awareness of your personal strengths and weaknesses including a frank assessment of your character and personal levels of integrity.
- Determine how these affect your personal credibility.
- Identify what actions, decisions and behaviors you can change.
- Develop a habit of assessing the impact and consequences of your actions on your personal credibility.
- Change what you can, and manage and control what you can’t.
- Remember this is an evolutionary process and not a singular event. History shows that individuals evolved into becoming great leaders over the span of their entire careers. For many it was a struggle.
It is important to remember that no leader is an island onto oneself, who functions in isolation. Nor is the individual the first one to encounter problems associated with building his or her credibility. Universally, the leaders surveyed all struggled with this issue at one point or another in their careers.
Copyright (C) 2011 Timothy F. Bednarz All Rights Reserved