Credibility is key to leadership effectiveness, yet it is easily undermined by common things some leaders do.

Here are three things you can do to maintain high levels of credibility with those you lead:

1. Avoid Making Overstatements & Exaggerations

When trying to get your employees pumped up and motivated, it is fairly easy to exaggerate, a little or a lot.  This approach seems to work in the movies when a coach or a leader is trying to elevate the spirit of their teams to a much higher level.  In the real world, however it is important for you to avoid overstatement, hyperbole and exaggeration. All are credibility killers.

Exaggeration can make you seem less trustworthy, and  employee morale will wither as their trust in you begins to fade.

The most effective leaders are able to persuade their employees while remaining well within the boundaries of truth and reality.  Even though their speeches may not be as dramatic as they have seen done on the big screen, they will have more of a significant impact on the minds and hearts of your employees.

2. Continuously Maintain Your Employee’s Privacy

Your team has to be able to trust in you as their leader in order to be persuaded by you.  Therefore, you have to prove to be trustworthy by keeping their private information private.  If they confide in you confidentially, you know that you’ve established a trusting relationship between yourself and your employee.  An off-handed comment about something an employee has shared can easily be seen as a betrayal. When you violate that circle of trust, you destroy both your credibility and any sort of bond or relationship.

3. Don’t Make Promises That Can’t Be Kept

A promise not kept becomes a lie, regardless of the reasons why. I always advise leaders never to make statements that aren’t confident they can deliver on. Speculation can turn into statements that come back to haunt the leader.

It boils down to this: Say what you’ll do and do what you say. If you do, you’ll maintain a high level of credibility.

Credibility Also Promotes Unity

Your personal credibility plays a significant role in promoting unity within your team.  As their leader, it allows you to gain and keep their respect, honor and trust.  And you provide an example of how you expect team members to treat each other.

By avoiding overstatements, maintaining the trusting relationship that you have with others and only making promises that you can keep, you will safeguard your credibility and foundation of professional leadership.


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Mark Sanborn
About Mark Sanborn

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and change. Mark Sanborn graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University. In addition to his work as a business educator and author, Mark continues to be an active leadership practitioner. Most recently he served as the president of the National Speakers Association.

One Response to 3 Keys to Credibility for Leaders
  1. […] Read More This entry was posted in News and tagged Mark Sanborn, Milestone Speakers, The Speakers Bureau on 02/23/2013 by admin. […]


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