November 2014

Despite all best intentions it's easy to send mixed messages to others when we allow stress or self-focused behaviors dominate our interactions with others. This month provides a quick checklist to see if your leadership credibility might be taking a hit.


All the best,



Credibility Crushers 

Consider the following behaviors that hurt employee engagement and motivation: 



Forgetting conversations and instructions given; poor listening skills. Common employee complaint: "I have to take notes just to be sure I can prove later we had this conversation"

Not Understanding Employee's Jobs Assuming credibility can be earned without understanding the inner workings of the team. Common employee complaint: "If they had any idea what we do they would make better decisions instead of making our jobs harder" 

Fairweather Boss

A fan one minute, a critic the next. Common employee complaint: "You have her support until it becomes unpopular"

Solitary Decision Making

Making decisions that impact others without soliciting their feedback. Common employee complaint: "This directly affected my job but yet he didn't think I was important enough to be included until after the fact"

Talking Out of Both Sides of Your Mouth 

Being hypocritical, contradictory or overly political. Common employee complaint: "Mixed messages"


Reactive crisis-management mentality, often adopting the overreactions of others. Common employee complaint: "We're headed one direction today, we'll be headed the opposite direction tomorrow"


Unrealistic or Assumed Expectations Expecting others to possess the same work ethic or assuming unspoken expectations will be met. Common employee complaint: "I failed at something I didn't even know I was being evaluated on and never got the chance to discuss it"


Leadership behaviors that build credibility and employee engagement:  

  • Assuming the best and delaying judgment 
  • Reliability in word and deed
  • Soliciting their input in brainstorming and problem solving
  • Challenging them to think outside their job description
  • Taking a genuine interest in employees as individuals
  • Delegating learning opportunities not just problems
  • Laughing at yourself and fessing up when you blow it
  • Encouraging creativity
  • Giving others the freedom to "fail forward"
  • Operating from a hope of success rather than a fear of failure
  • Asking "How am I doing?"


Just remember credibility takes years to establish and only a few bad behaviors to destroy. The first step is moving out of your comfort zone and asking for feedback on how others see you modeling these behaviors. Raising your self awareness will increase your effectiveness and influence. 



A common leadership credibility killer is Breaking Promises or Poor Follow Through.  This is unreliability in all its ugly incarnations. Common employee complaint: "He holds us accountable but when it comes to him there are always exceptions and excuses."

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