By Mark Bowser
In order to be successful, a leader must have credibility. In fact, unless you have credibility in the eyes of your team members, they won’t follow you. So, in this chapter, we are going to discuss the four tools in the Leader’s Tool Chest of Credibility. I want you to think about your tool chest at your house. Go out to the garage or wherever you keep it. Open it up. What do you see? I can almost guarantee that you will see at least two tools. Can you name them? That is right. A hammer and a screwdriver. In my opinion, you don’t have a tool chest unless you at least have a hammer and a screwdriver. These are the basics and some of the most important tools. Just like your tool chest, a leader must have a hammer and a screwdriver. These are the basic tools of a leader’s credibility and they make up the first tool in our tool chest of credibility and it is called Lead by Example.
Tool # 1: Hammer/Screwdriver (Lead by Example)
A number of years ago, I worked on the production staff of Peter Lowe International. They are the organization that put on the large SUCCESS seminars(today they are called Get Motivated! seminars). They are the largest business seminars in the world. One of my main responsibilities was to work with the product/resources (books, videos, and audio programs) for the events. I remember a very busy seminar. I think we were in Denver. We had a lot of people who were wanting to invest in the resources. So many people that we had too many customers. Now, this is a good thing but it still a challenge to service them effectively.
During the seminar, Peter Lowe’s number two guy came up to me and asked, “Mark, how can I help?” I said, “I need people.” What I meant was that I needed him to transfer some people from the other teams to my team for the short term. What he did was even more impressive.
He jumped behind the table and started serving customers himself. It was as if he rolled up his sleeves and jumped on the front lines with his team. That made an impact on me. He showed me that day that he wasn’t going to ask me to do anything that he wasn’t willing to do himself. He led by example. That day, his credibility went way up in my eyes.
Tool #2: The Power Saw (Words Mean Something)
I think many times, we as leaders use our words too casually. Words mean something. Communication can be one of our greatest dreams come true or our worst nightmare. Has anything like this ever happened at your office?
Team member: “Can I have Friday off? I need to take care of __________.”
You: “Sure, not a problem.”
Thursday rolls around and the circumstances change and you go up to your team member and say, “Sorry, you can’t have Friday off now.”
By doing this, what have you taught your team member about you and your word? That is right. That you can’t be trusted.
Now, I understand that sometimes circumstances do change but all I am really saying is be careful how you use your words. There is nothing casual about effective communication. Relaxed, yes. Casual, no. Words Mean Something and we have to do our best to always be truthful, accurate, kind, courteous, and clear.
Tool #3: The Tape Measure (Communicate the Vision & Mission Statement
Why does your organization or department exist? Where are you going? How do you plan on getting there? Not always easy questions. But they are some of the most important questions that you can answer for your team. Everything you do revolves around your vision and mission statements. Make sure everything you do or say runs through this filter. It will make a world of difference not only in your Leadership Credibility but also your results.
Tool #4: The Glue (Before you delegate, do some of the ugly tasks yourself)
If all you do is delegate the ugly stuff to your team and keep the nice, clean tasks for yourself, your credibility will drop like a muddy brick in a pond. My best advice is to do some of the ugly tasks yourself. Delegate some of the clean tasks. Why? Well, your credibility will go up in the eyes of your team. You see, the time will come when you will need more help and then when you delegate those ugly tasks, your team will jump in and pick up the ball. Because they know that it isn’t that you aren’t willing to do the ugly tasks (because they have seen you do them), it is that the team is in crunch time and you need their help.
Well, there you have it. Four tools to greater credibility. One, Hammer/Screwdriver, Two, The Power Saw, Three, The Tape Measure, Four, The Glue. Practice these four tools in your tool chest and before you know it your team will trust you more, believe in you more, and follow you more.
*This article was excerpted from Mark’s impactful book Three Pillars of Success. Now available in ebook format on Amazon’s Kindle. Go to Amazon.com.