The first building block of a relationship of trust is building credibility with your colleagues and employees. Although you also need to know that your employees have credibility, as the leader, you must initiate the credibility.
The Building Blocks of Credibility
- Two-Way Communication The degree to which leaders share information with people
- Competence The ability to display expertise while remaining open and accessible to employees
- Integrity The extent to which the leaders’ actions match their words
A strong foundation of credibility will allow you to spend more time on things that matter, as credibility to smooths many of the rocky times and the challenges that you need to request your team to take on.
Your employee’s perception and experience of the workplace is the cornerstone of your credibility. In fact, in her book, The 85% Solution, author Linda Galindo says,
“You should shore up communication before tackling anything else. Why? When we talk with employees about their experiences at great workplaces, they routinely emphasize their appreciation for communication. When they’re not talking explicitly about the importance of communication, they’re discussing aspects of their work environment that rest upon healthy comunicatoin between leaders and employees. Once genuine two-way communciation exists, it can be used as a vehicle to support others, collaborate with them, and signal caring.”
Remember, to increase personal effectiveness and professional presence, you need to create credibility. Two-way communication is the first step. Are you consistently informative and accessible in your communication?
As a leader, you must instill in your employees the knowledge that they have a competent leader. No, this doesn’t mean that you will have all of the answers. What it does mean is that you will demonstrate the competence that you bring to the table, and thereby earn the trust of your employees.
When your employees talk about your ability to coordinate, their conversations typically sift down into three areas: 1.) Your ability to hire leaders and team members who are a good fit with the organization. 2.) Your ability to have processes go smoothly, because you have assigned the right resources and have followed through to a positive outcome. Remember: This almost always relies on heavy involvement from the people who are doing the actual work! 3.) Your decision making ability is the third part of the credibility trifecta. Your employees are always watching for your proficiency in decision making, which gives a clear idea of your ability to lead the organization.
Oversight and Vision
Good oversight gets its roots from the ability to assign meaningful work to your employees! As a leader, you need to communicate in ways that allow them to see their work as part of something larger. They also need to feel a sense of autonomy in getting the important work done. Learn to convey meaning to your team.
On the tails of conveying meaning to employees about their job and giving them the independence they crave in order to be independently successful, you will also need to have a vision, and the overarching direction of the company. What are the values of your organization? If you have an empty mission statement, throw it out and get in touch with your organization’s real vision, and then how you will help every member of your organization connect with that vision.
For example, Whole Foods Market gives us a great example of how to help employees understand the tactical priorities of the organization and their role in achieving them. They sponsor regional Vision Days for a region’s leadership, Team Leaders, and Team Member representatives. They develop and agree upon the vision and goals for the year.
Demonstrate Your Credibility
Demonstrating your credibility is the holy grail of building a credible presence. After all, you can follow all of the steps here, but if you don’t spread the word, you won’t get the rewards of your credibility. Repeatedly share the values and vision, keep two-way communication open, show competence and integrity, and let people know about it!