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Five Ways to Gain or Regain Credibility as a Leader


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When I was new to leadership at the tender age of 23 I messed up big time. I went about being a leader in all the wrong ways. How many of you got promoted to your role in leadership because you were a great ‘doer’? That was me!

The challenge with promoting a ‘doer’ to a ‘leader’ is that the skill sets are completely different. A ‘doer’ quite literally gets things done. You are given a task, you figure it out and you just get er done. Easy right?

The skills of a ‘doer’ are action oriented, takes instruction, fast learner, results oriented, likes to see the outcomes of their efforts. Now transfer those skills over to a leader and you would think those skills would make you a naturally gifted leader. Not so fast.

The skills of a great leader or multi faceted and include the skills of a ‘doer’ and they also include the skills of a ‘socializer’, a ‘empathizer’ and a ‘detailer’. This is why training is crucial when you are promoted to a leadership role. Let me take that further and say that even leaders who have been on the job for years- they too need to engage in ongoing learning in order to grow as a leader.

Credibility is a huge component of leadership success. If your team does not see you as credible they will not support you or your efforts to lead. If you are new to leadership there are five things you can do to gain instant credibility and if you have been in leadership for a while but feel you need to re-gain credibility then the following five steps will help you move forward.

5 Ways to Gain or Regain Credibility as a Leader

#1- Begin with you. Do a self assessment of your skills and ask yourself the following questions:

  • - Why was I selected to be a leader?
  • - How do my skills fit in with the role of leader?
  • - What do I need to learn to be a better leader?
  • - What did the leader before me do well?
  • - How am I unique as a leader?

#2- Have a face to face with your team ASAP- You need to establish or re-establish who you are, what your skills are and your role with the team. It is never too late to do this by the way. Use the answers to your questions above as the content for this meeting. For example:

“Hey team, I called this meeting as a chance for you to get to know me as a leader, my style and how we can best work together. “ Here’s what you need to know:

  • - I was selected as your leader because I am a doer, a decision maker and I am not afraid to take risks.
  • - My skills are in seeing what needs to be done and in finding solutions.
  • - I have lots to learn too and I am an avid lifelong learner so I look forward to learning from each of you as we work together.
  • - What did you enjoy about your previous leader?
  • - What would you enjoy about me as your leader and working together?
  • - I am unique as a leader in that I want to focus on fun while gaining results and I want to hear your feedback to help me do the best job possible for you and the company.

#3- Involve your boss to elevate your credibility instantly- Many leaders are promoted without any fanfare or announcement from upper management. Insist that your boss announce your position/promotion via internal communication if that is not regular practice in your company. Take it one step further and in your very first meeting with your team have your boss ‘promote’ you to the team. Ask your boss to tell the team why you were chosen as their leader, what he or she sees as your gifts that you bring to the department or team. Have your boss reiterate his or her complete faith in you. In addition have your boss state the chain of command so that your team knows you are fully supported by upper management. If you want to re-establish credibility involve your boss to show your team he or she has ‘got your back’ and supports the direction or decisions you made.

#4- Don’t just ‘talk” it- Do It!- Put your words into action and show your team that you are a lifelong learner, recognize their skills and tell them when you have learned something from each of them. In meetings be open about what you learned from a specific team mate. This demonstrates your commitment to being a leader who learns not a leader who supposedly knows everything. Although you stated that you are solution oriented guide and coach your team to be solution providers. Encourage them to come to you with a few solutions to any of the challenges they may present to you. Then facilitate the solutions, congratulate them on bringing solutions forward. Let your team know you are a ‘facilitator of solutions’.

#5- Share your knowledge- Generation X and Y workers want to learn as much as they can from each of their bosses. If you are unwilling to share your knowledge you will lose credibility rapidly as you will be seen as a ‘hoarder’ of information, a negative control freak and an insecure leader. Have regular ‘training’ meetings where you share information from upper management and on the goings on within the company. Encourage your team to ‘knowledge share’ with each other at these meetings. Have monthly mentoring/coaching meetings with each member of your team that allows them to ask you whatever they want to know.

The good news for me at the age of 23 was that I had a fantastic boss who realized I needed support and training to be a great leader. Even though I was a lousy leader for the first three months of my first leadership role I quickly became a well respected leader once I was given the tools and support to succeed. Age is not a barrier to great leadership the only barrier is skill development. A great leader knows their skill set, where the gaps are and where to go to get better. It’s never too late to gain or regain credibility as a leader.

About the Author

Cheryl Cran, CSP President of Synthesis at Work Inc. works with organizations in significantly increasing productivity and profitability through communication strategies that improve employee performance, leverage team synergy and build extraordinary leaders. Many of Synthesis at Work's clients are award winning industry leaders.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-08-14 17:10:38 in Employee Articles

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