If we can improve one area of ourselves that would have a tremendous influence on those we lead it would be in the area of credibility. When we have earned the credibility with those we lead it quickly impacts every aspect of our leadership. Stephen Covey in his book The Speed of Trust shares the four cores of credibility.
CORE 1: INTEGRITY
The first core deals with issues of integrity. This is what most people think about when they think of trust. To many, “integrity” basically means “honest.” While the integrity includes honesty, it’s much more. It’s integratedness. It’s walking your talk. It’s being congruent, inside and out. It’s having the courage to act in accordance with your values and beliefs. Interestingly, most massive violations of trust are violations of integrity.
CORE 2: INTENT
The second core deals with issues of intent. This has to do with our motives, our agendas, and our resulting behavior. Trust grows when our motives are straightforward and based on mutual benefit in other words, when we genuinely care not only for ourselves, but also for the people we interact with, leader, or serve. When we suspect a hidden agenda from someone or we don’t believe they are acting in our best interests, we are suspicious about everything they say and do. Both integrity and intent are matters of character.
CORE 3: CAPABILITIES
The third core deals with issues of capabilities. These are the abilities we have that inspire confidence our talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge, and style. They are the means we use to produce results. A family doctor might have integrity and his motives might be good, but unless he’s trained and skilled to perform the task at hand (brain surgery, for example) he’ll be lacking in credibility in that area. Capabilities also deal with our ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust.
CORE 4: RESULTS
The fourth deals with issues around results. This refers to our track record, our performance, our getting the right things done. If we don’t accomplish what we are expected to do, it diminishes our credibility. On the other hand, when we achieve the results we promised, we establish a positive reputation of performing, of being a producer…and our reputation precedes us. Both capabilities and results are matters of competence.