Case ID: 9B04TD02
Solution ID: 25399

A Prescription for Leading in Cynical Times

Case Solution

Developing credible leaders is one highly effective way of counteracting the cynicism that is widespread in today's work environment. According to research conducted by the authors, the majority of people admire leaders who are honest, forward-looking, inspiring and competent. The article examines each of these attributes in greater detail. It highlights that because three of the above four characteristics are very similar to the three dimensions of source credibility, trustworthiness, expertise, dynamism, above all people want leaders who are credible. The authors examine six ways in which leaders can develop credibility. Credible leaders have a clear and confident way of doing things that stems from having clarified their values, the standards by which they choose to live their life. Credible leaders follow through on what they say they will do. Credibility is established when there is a consistency between words and deeds. Great listening skills are one of the common characteristics of credible leaders. Credibility is earned by communicating interest in and respect for other people. By sharing personal experiences, exchanging stories and joining in dialogue, leaders become people and not just positions. While credible leaders honor the diversity of their many constituencies, they unite people into a common cause by finding a common ground of agreement on which everyone can stand. Credible leaders develop capacity of their members to keep their commitments. They liberate others by giving them the latitude to make choices, by constantly keeping people informed about what is going on, and by creating a climate that encourages risk-taking, experimenting, and learning from mistakes. Lastly, credible leaders are great learners; they enable and strengthen their constituents' resolve by focusing on what can be learned from every adventure. Credibility, like reputation, is something that is earned over time, rather than generated automatically with a job or a title. Especially in uncertain times, building leadership credibility is essential to generating confidence among constituents.


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