How to Lose Your Leadership Credibility

What’s the quickest way for you to undermine your credibility as a leader? One of the ways is to show a lack of integrity.

I was chatting with one of my clients a number of months ago, and he made a list of the values that he wanted expressed in his leadership team. What I mean by values are ways of behaving, which translate into operational processes. He made this list and so I asked him,

“Which of these values are core to your organization and which were aspirational?”

A core value is a value that already exists in your company and can be seen in the way that you run your business. An aspirational value is a behavior that you want to have your team express in its operations, but they’re not quite there yet.

For instance, let’s say you want to be able to express that value of accountability, but you can say, “You know what, it’s not quite there.” Don’t abandon the hope of accountability but don’t say it’s a core value because that will be a way of undermining your credibility with your team and with your organization.

Instead, get together with your executive leadership group and ask this question. In what specific ways can we inject accountability into the culture of our organization? Have a brainstorming session with them, come up with a few ideas and then hold each other accountable for those things over, let’s say, a 30, 60 or 90-day period. This is a way you can move an aspirational value into a core value and maintain your integrity.

So, make sure you’re making that distinction between core values and aspirational values, maintain your integrity as a leader and really insist upon the very best from people in your organization.

The core of this particular tip came from a gentleman named Patrick Lencioni in his book, The Advantage.