Since credibility (credit-ability) is the most essential quality of leadership (essential meaning you can’t lead without it), it is crucial to know what it is and how to get it.
Credibility is that combination of trust and confidence that convinces people you can successfully lead them into the future. As a result, they voluntarily decide to follow you.
Trust is fragile—easily broken. Trust takes time to build, but can be torn down in a moment. Without trust, you can’t lead. You can herd, but you can’t lead.
Building trust starts with integrity. Integrity is simple. God gave us three integrity rules to live by:
The telling points of integrity are the little things like inflated expense accounts, taking office supplies home for personal use, business trips that are really vacations, and using organization credit cards for personal items. No matter how “small” your cheating, stealing or lying is, it is still cheating, stealing and lying, and your credibility will be destroyed by these things.
Dependability is also simple. It is always doing what you say you will do and always being consistent. Few things destroy trust faster than unfilled promises. And, few things create anxiety more than inconsistent behavior. Make sure that “my word is my bond” is actually true for you, and make sure that people know what to expect from you, especially in stressful situations.
Another important part of building trust is humility. Simply put, leading a team is not about you, it’s about the team. People trust you because they believe that you have their interests at heart, not just your own.
Every now and then look over your shoulder. If fewer and fewer people are following, it may be because they don’t trust you. So, what are you going to do about it? Do you have anyone who will tell you the truth about yourself? If not, find someone.
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner