There are few things as rewarding as leadership but nothing I’ve encountered that’s more difficult either. Leading looks glamourous at times from a distance but when thrown into the real world responsibility of it, people quickly realize just how much one really has to give up in order to go up.
There are many elements that make up great leadership but ultimately great leaders are able to move people from where they are to where they want to be and need to be. In order to do this there is one element that trumps all the others in necessity….CREDIBILITY.
WIthout it you will simply walk alone. People must first believe in the leader themselves before they will ever even consider the direction they are trying to take them in.
The various components that equate to deep credibility are the subject of entire books but for today let me share 5 BE-attitudes that I think are huge in establishing great credibility with others.
1. BE QUICK TO ADMIT WHEN YOUR WRONG-
Few things are more discouraging to a follower than a leader who will never own a mistake. We don’t really have to have all of the answers we just need a never ending curiosity to keep growing, searching and discovering. In our efforts to keep our organizations moving, we will at times get it wrong. This doesn’t mean we are bad leaders, it means we are human. When it becomes clear it was the wrong call, don’t defend it, admit it, your people will find strength in your security.
2. BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR WEAKNESSES-
They already know you have them and the quicker you are able to be honest and own up to them the quicker they will begin to love and trust you. Reassure your people that while you know where you are weak you are also making efforts to improve. This type of honesty makes you a leader worthy to follow and elevates you even more in the eyes of those you lead.
3. BE HUMBLE ABOUT YOUR AREAS OF YOUR STRENGTH-
Just like they know where you are weak, it is also apparent to everyone where you are strong and those things that give you a decided edge over many. Flow out of it certainly, but don’t flaunt it ever. You don’t need to and doing so only makes you look arrogant and conceited about your gifting. This paints your good with a negative color and destroys credibility. Giving everyone your resume all the time makes you look insecure and desperate and no one wants this in their leaders.
4. BE WILLING TO ACCEPT LEGITIMATE CRITICISM-
It is extremely difficult at times to discern what is legitimate and what is just a difference of philosophy or operational opinion. The problem is further compounded by the fact we all get naturally defensive when someone points out an area we are weak in. Great leaders manage this tension with grace and do their best to find the good and receive it with an understanding heart. When we are open and not only receive it well but grow from it, our credibility with others grows exponentially.
5. BE OPEN TO HEAR IDEAS FROM OTHERS EVEN WHEN YOU THINK THE DIRECTION IS CLEAR-
I can’t tell you how many times I thought I had thought something completely through and then someone says something that brings an entirely new level of clarity to the situation that changed it for the better. I am learning daily how to depend on others more and I am thankful for this in my life. Even when you are convinced of a direction, include others anyway. It will ultimately give them some ownership and elevate your credibility as a leader.
NOW THE CONFESSION….At times in my leadership life I have been horrible at all of these things, but I am growing, learning, stretching and striving. A leaders greatest leadership challenge will always be themselves. I am thankful that God has entrusted it to me anyway and I am honored to lead an awesome church and staff. Never give up, it’s always a journey worth taking.