Business Leadership: How Much is in Your Credibility Bank Account?

Business leaders have more than a title on their doors. They also have the trust and confidence of those who work for them; who work with them; and who buy from them.

Each leader begins with credits in his Credibility Bank Account. That amount varies based on the leader's qualifications, reputation and personal style. Every day, deposits (positive experiences) and withdrawals (disappointments) are made into this account.

Do you know how to manage their credibility account ? Your workplace and marketplace relationships? Here are 10 strategies to build your worth.

Know thyself and others.
What might be a deposit to you may not be perceived by someone else as a deposit at all. It might be perceived as a withdrawal, if it does not touch the person's deep interests or needs.

Attend to the little things.
The little kindnesses and courtesies are important and make deposits. Small discourtesies can make large withdrawals. In relationships, the little things are the big things.

Clarify expectations.
Whether we are dealing with the question of who does what at work or who takes out the garbage, unclear expectations leads to misunderstanding and withdrawal of trust.

Have a strong, not a big, ego.
Leaders with strong egos are driven but humble confident but receptive to feedback. Leaders with big egos view themselves as bulletproof and avoid, bristle or ignore others' ideas and concerns.

Avoid the blame game.
When we err, as we will again and again, the best response is to ask: What went wrong? What could we have done differently? And then do what's necessary to fix the problem.

Apologize sincerely.
Great deposits come in the sincere words: 'I was wrong.' 'I showed you no respect.' Sincere apologies make deposits; repeated apologies make withdrawals.

Be consistent.
Leaders inspire trust because they don't change horses or courses ? in mid stream. Why fight hard for something if you can't count on the leader to stick with it?

Do what you say you're going to do.
Credible leaders remember the promises they make, take the appropriate course of action, and let their staff know what's been done.

Pass the Carl Sandburg test.
Carl Sandburg was the champion of ordinary folks, the common men and women of the workplace. How are the rank and file treated in your organization? Character is revealed by how leaders treat those with limited power ? waiters, secretaries, tellers, etc.

Periodically do a credibility check.
The more aware you, the better equipped you are be to keep your credibility elevated. To stay on track, ask yourself these questions:

  • "What could potentially jeopardize my credibility?"
  • "What steps can I take to improve my credibility?"
  • "What can I do each day to ensure that my credibility is maintained?"

Marcia Zidle, the 'people smarts' coach, works with business leaders to quickly solve their people management headaches so they can concentrate on their #1 job ­ to grow and increase profits. She offers free help through Leadership Briefing, a weekly e-newsletter with practical tips on leadership style, employee motivation, recruitment and retention and relationship management. Subscribe by going to and get the bonus report "61 Leadership Time Savers and Life Savers". Marcia is the author of the What Really Works Handbooks ­ resources for managers on the front line and the Power-by-the-Hour programs ­ fast, convenient, real life, affordable courses for leadership and staff development. She is available for media interviews, conference presentations and panel discussions on the hottest issues affecting the workplace today. Contact Marcia at 800-971-7619.

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