Credibility is the foundation of effective leadership.
Clint is the co-founder of a software company that’s experienced rapid growth over the past three years. He’s smart, outgoing, and great in front of customers. In fact, Clint is the sales team’s go-to to close big accounts. The sales team has nicknamed him Midas, because everything he touches turns to gold. On top of all that, Clint’s a genuinely nice guy.
However, for all of his strengths, Clint has a tragic flaw. He’s consistently late for meetings. Ten, twenty, thirty minutes late is par for the course with Clint, and sometime more. Clint is also the master of coming up with reasons why he’s late—this customer meeting went long, that operational issue needed his time, the traffic from the airport was atrocious.
However, as much as Clint tries to explain each instance away, his team’s not having it anymore. Clint’s invisibility is having a visible impact on engagement and morale—from the top straight on down. Whether he realizes it or not, Clint’s been shooting his credibility in the foot. It’s hurting his leadership and having an impact on the company.
If you want to be a great leader, and have those you lead perform at their best, the onus is on you to create an effective leader-follower relationship. You set the tone. You lay the groundwork of connection for what that relationship will become. The first step on that journey is establishing your credibility.