Credibility is decisive for the modern leader. Whether you lead a team, an organization or a country. Modern leadership in a changing world is all about building solid relations and creating motivation. And that cannot be done without credibility.

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The vast importance of credibility becomes particularly clear during elections where one credibility rating after another is presented and where two prime minister candidates constantly have to relate to and comment on their own credibility. And with good reason. Because credibility is decisive for anyone who takes charge. Whether you are a politician or a business leader.

The only thing with credibility is that we cannot decide ourselves that we are credible. It would be nice to be able to say: “Dear nation, employees or partners. I have credibility. You can trust me.” But no, credibility is a feeling the recipient has. It is those around us who decide whether we are credible.

 

When are you credible?

But we can do something to be perceived as credible. Since the rhetoric of Antiquity, people have been aware how important credibility is for a person who leads. Aristotle, one of the central figures in the rhetoric of Antiquity, defined three elements that are decisive for being perceived as a credible person, viz. excellence, character and goodwill. You may also have heard the three elements referred to as ethos, logos and pathos. I will now show you why the three elements still apply today, more than 2000 years after they were defined by Aristotle, and how you can use them when you lead and communicate.

 

Excellence

Excellence is about excelling at your job. In this respect, excellence in a particular field will not suffice. Seen from a credibility perspective, excellence is mainly about showing that you have a comprehensive view of things and a sense of priority and timing. Employees should feel safe in the hands of the excellent leader, who has the ability to lead, prioritize and focus. With a somewhat old-fashioned word, you could call this attribute wisdom. We need to feel assured that our leader is wise in the widest sense of the word.

 

Character

The second element concerns the moral character of the credible leader. With the risk of sounding like an old prude, character is basically about behaving well and having a set of generally accepted values. No matter how wise and excellent a leader is, if we find out that he has an extravagant lifestyle while paying his employees peanuts, his character will be put into question. He will then have a problem with his credibility that will undermine his leadership.

It was the exact same situation that caused Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke massive problems during the elections. The stories about the candidate’s luxury travels and his expensive clothes paid by the party coffers were evidence of a moral character that many found to be incompatible with the office of prime minister. So how did it affect Lars Løkke’s credibility? His credibility rating plummeted and, according to political analysts, made thousands of voters turn their back on him.

 

Good will

The third element, good will, is about being able to show consideration towards your employees and colleagues. Showing that you take an interest, respect them and care about them. And you should preferably mean it too. A leader who walks through the canteen with his nose in the air and without deigning to look at his employees exhibits lack of good will. A leader who barely knows what his employees are doing in the workplace and leaves the impression that he really does not care exhibits lack of good will. And a leader who fails to listen when his employees are speaking to him exhibits lack of good will. In fact, he shows ill will, which will lead to a severe dent in his credibility.

This element is akin to the concept “the resonant leader” introduced by renowned American psychologist and leadership researcher Daniel Goleman in 1995. The resonant leader applies emotional intelligence to connect to his employees. The concept “resonance” comes from music and symbolizes how the emotionally intelligent leader creates harmonious resonance within the organization. He exhibits good will and acknowledges the employees at an emotional level, which is decisive for their well-being, his credibility and the organization’s success. According to Goleman, it is still possible to prove that resonant leaders create better results.

 

Credibility is the foundation

There can be no doubt that Aristoteles’ three elements – excellence, character and good will – are vital for the credible business leader of today, maybe even more than ever before. Modern businesses increasingly acknowledge the importance of leadership and thus increasingly focus on the leader. Indeed, the leader’s credibility is essential to employee motivation, the corporate brand and business success.

 

Example – the Liquorice King

In 2014, the Danish Association of Managers and Executives (Lederne) named Johan Bülow, Bornholm’s Licorice King, business leader of the year. He was awarded for his innovative and skilful leadership style. Johan Bülow is characterized by diligence, passion and dedication. He is portrayed as “the self-made man”, who has worked his way up from the stove in his parents’ kitchen to a successful business with incredible revenue. When interviewed, Bülow explains how he strives to make the employees of his licorice empire small entrepreneurs at their own desk and how his ambition is to instill in them the passion and pride he has and feels for the company.

So which elements of credibility does he use? Well, Johan Bülow has character and exhibits good will – or at least that is the impression he leaves. His values, which are sympathetic, are some most people want to identify with: Dedication, passion and diligence. He did not cut any corners to become successful and he is really passionate about what he does. These are all strong traits. And he also shows good will by wishing that his employees have the same passion and creative zest as he has. Employees are not just a workforce – they are indispensable team mates.

 

Credibility is revealed in communication

Leadership is important. Leadership is communication. And good communication is rooted in a credible communicator. That is the foundation. So when you as a corporate leader communicate, internally or externally, you should be aware of the signals you send, directly and indirectly, about your own excellence, character and good will to your employees and surroundings. It takes an understanding of rhetorics – and credibility.

 

By Karen Bendix Terp

 

 1 
 

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 1 
...feel free to share our articles :)

 

The vast importance of credibility becomes particularly clear during elections where one credibility rating after another is presented and where two prime minister candidates constantly have to relate to and comment on their own credibility. And with good reason. Because credibility is decisive for anyone who takes charge. Whether you are a politician or a business leader.

The only thing with credibility is that we cannot decide ourselves that we are credible. It would be nice to be able to say: “Dear nation, employees or partners. I have credibility. You can trust me.” But no, credibility is a feeling the recipient has. It is those around us who decide whether we are credible.

 

When are you credible?

But we can do something to be perceived as credible. Since the rhetoric of Antiquity, people have been aware how important credibility is for a person who leads. Aristotle, one of the central figures in the rhetoric of Antiquity, defined three elements that are decisive for being perceived as a credible person, viz. excellence, character and goodwill. You may also have heard the three elements referred to as ethos, logos and pathos. I will now show you why the three elements still apply today, more than 2000 years after they were defined by Aristotle, and how you can use them when you lead and communicate.

 

Excellence

Excellence is about excelling at your job. In this respect, excellence in a particular field will not suffice. Seen from a credibility perspective, excellence is mainly about showing that you have a comprehensive view of things and a sense of priority and timing. Employees should feel safe in the hands of the excellent leader, who has the ability to lead, prioritize and focus. With a somewhat old-fashioned word, you could call this attribute wisdom. We need to feel assured that our leader is wise in the widest sense of the word.

 

Character

The second element concerns the moral character of the credible leader. With the risk of sounding like an old prude, character is basically about behaving well and having a set of generally accepted values. No matter how wise and excellent a leader is, if we find out that he has an extravagant lifestyle while paying his employees peanuts, his character will be put into question. He will then have a problem with his credibility that will undermine his leadership.

It was the exact same situation that caused Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke massive problems during the elections. The stories about the candidate’s luxury travels and his expensive clothes paid by the party coffers were evidence of a moral character that many found to be incompatible with the office of prime minister. So how did it affect Lars Løkke’s credibility? His credibility rating plummeted and, according to political analysts, made thousands of voters turn their back on him.

 

Good will

The third element, good will, is about being able to show consideration towards your employees and colleagues. Showing that you take an interest, respect them and care about them. And you should preferably mean it too. A leader who walks through the canteen with his nose in the air and without deigning to look at his employees exhibits lack of good will. A leader who barely knows what his employees are doing in the workplace and leaves the impression that he really does not care exhibits lack of good will. And a leader who fails to listen when his employees are speaking to him exhibits lack of good will. In fact, he shows ill will, which will lead to a severe dent in his credibility.

This element is akin to the concept “the resonant leader” introduced by renowned American psychologist and leadership researcher Daniel Goleman in 1995. The resonant leader applies emotional intelligence to connect to his employees. The concept “resonance” comes from music and symbolizes how the emotionally intelligent leader creates harmonious resonance within the organization. He exhibits good will and acknowledges the employees at an emotional level, which is decisive for their well-being, his credibility and the organization’s success. According to Goleman, it is still possible to prove that resonant leaders create better results.

 

Credibility is the foundation

There can be no doubt that Aristoteles’ three elements – excellence, character and good will – are vital for the credible business leader of today, maybe even more than ever before. Modern businesses increasingly acknowledge the importance of leadership and thus increasingly focus on the leader. Indeed, the leader’s credibility is essential to employee motivation, the corporate brand and business success.

 

Example – the Liquorice King

In 2014, the Danish Association of Managers and Executives (Lederne) named Johan Bülow, Bornholm’s Licorice King, business leader of the year. He was awarded for his innovative and skilful leadership style. Johan Bülow is characterized by diligence, passion and dedication. He is portrayed as “the self-made man”, who has worked his way up from the stove in his parents’ kitchen to a successful business with incredible revenue. When interviewed, Bülow explains how he strives to make the employees of his licorice empire small entrepreneurs at their own desk and how his ambition is to instill in them the passion and pride he has and feels for the company.

So which elements of credibility does he use? Well, Johan Bülow has character and exhibits good will – or at least that is the impression he leaves. His values, which are sympathetic, are some most people want to identify with: Dedication, passion and diligence. He did not cut any corners to become successful and he is really passionate about what he does. These are all strong traits. And he also shows good will by wishing that his employees have the same passion and creative zest as he has. Employees are not just a workforce – they are indispensable team mates.

 

Credibility is revealed in communication

Leadership is important. Leadership is communication. And good communication is rooted in a credible communicator. That is the foundation. So when you as a corporate leader communicate, internally or externally, you should be aware of the signals you send, directly and indirectly, about your own excellence, character and good will to your employees and surroundings. It takes an understanding of rhetorics – and credibility.

 

By Karen Bendix Terp

 

 1 
 

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The vast importance of credibility becomes particularly clear during elections where one credibility rating after another is presented and where two prime minister candidates constantly have to relate to and comment on their own credibility. And with good reason. Because credibility is decisive for anyone who takes charge. Whether you are a politician or a business leader.

The only thing with credibility is that we cannot decide ourselves that we are credible. It would be nice to be able to say: “Dear nation, employees or partners. I have credibility. You can trust me.” But no, credibility is a feeling the recipient has. It is those around us who decide whether we are credible.

 

When are you credible?

But we can do something to be perceived as credible. Since the rhetoric of Antiquity, people have been aware how important credibility is for a person who leads. Aristotle, one of the central figures in the rhetoric of Antiquity, defined three elements that are decisive for being perceived as a credible person, viz. excellence, character and goodwill. You may also have heard the three elements referred to as ethos, logos and pathos. I will now show you why the three elements still apply today, more than 2000 years after they were defined by Aristotle, and how you can use them when you lead and communicate.

 

Excellence

Excellence is about excelling at your job. In this respect, excellence in a particular field will not suffice. Seen from a credibility perspective, excellence is mainly about showing that you have a comprehensive view of things and a sense of priority and timing. Employees should feel safe in the hands of the excellent leader, who has the ability to lead, prioritize and focus. With a somewhat old-fashioned word, you could call this attribute wisdom. We need to feel assured that our leader is wise in the widest sense of the word.

 

Character

The second element concerns the moral character of the credible leader. With the risk of sounding like an old prude, character is basically about behaving well and having a set of generally accepted values. No matter how wise and excellent a leader is, if we find out that he has an extravagant lifestyle while paying his employees peanuts, his character will be put into question. He will then have a problem with his credibility that will undermine his leadership.

It was the exact same situation that caused Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke massive problems during the elections. The stories about the candidate’s luxury travels and his expensive clothes paid by the party coffers were evidence of a moral character that many found to be incompatible with the office of prime minister. So how did it affect Lars Løkke’s credibility? His credibility rating plummeted and, according to political analysts, made thousands of voters turn their back on him.

 

Good will

The third element, good will, is about being able to show consideration towards your employees and colleagues. Showing that you take an interest, respect them and care about them. And you should preferably mean it too. A leader who walks through the canteen with his nose in the air and without deigning to look at his employees exhibits lack of good will. A leader who barely knows what his employees are doing in the workplace and leaves the impression that he really does not care exhibits lack of good will. And a leader who fails to listen when his employees are speaking to him exhibits lack of good will. In fact, he shows ill will, which will lead to a severe dent in his credibility.

This element is akin to the concept “the resonant leader” introduced by renowned American psychologist and leadership researcher Daniel Goleman in 1995. The resonant leader applies emotional intelligence to connect to his employees. The concept “resonance” comes from music and symbolizes how the emotionally intelligent leader creates harmonious resonance within the organization. He exhibits good will and acknowledges the employees at an emotional level, which is decisive for their well-being, his credibility and the organization’s success. According to Goleman, it is still possible to prove that resonant leaders create better results.

 

Credibility is the foundation

There can be no doubt that Aristoteles’ three elements – excellence, character and good will – are vital for the credible business leader of today, maybe even more than ever before. Modern businesses increasingly acknowledge the importance of leadership and thus increasingly focus on the leader. Indeed, the leader’s credibility is essential to employee motivation, the corporate brand and business success.

 

Example – the Liquorice King

In 2014, the Danish Association of Managers and Executives (Lederne) named Johan Bülow, Bornholm’s Licorice King, business leader of the year. He was awarded for his innovative and skilful leadership style. Johan Bülow is characterized by diligence, passion and dedication. He is portrayed as “the self-made man”, who has worked his way up from the stove in his parents’ kitchen to a successful business with incredible revenue. When interviewed, Bülow explains how he strives to make the employees of his licorice empire small entrepreneurs at their own desk and how his ambition is to instill in them the passion and pride he has and feels for the company.

So which elements of credibility does he use? Well, Johan Bülow has character and exhibits good will – or at least that is the impression he leaves. His values, which are sympathetic, are some most people want to identify with: Dedication, passion and diligence. He did not cut any corners to become successful and he is really passionate about what he does. These are all strong traits. And he also shows good will by wishing that his employees have the same passion and creative zest as he has. Employees are not just a workforce – they are indispensable team mates.

 

Credibility is revealed in communication

Leadership is important. Leadership is communication. And good communication is rooted in a credible communicator. That is the foundation. So when you as a corporate leader communicate, internally or externally, you should be aware of the signals you send, directly and indirectly, about your own excellence, character and good will to your employees and surroundings. It takes an understanding of rhetorics – and credibility.

 

By Karen Bendix Terp

 

 1 
 

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