“Believability” in Leadership

December 14, 2010

A topic that was recently featured in the Training & Development group forum on LinkedIn was “Believability” in Leadership.

One of the members of the group, who  had initiated the discussion, said:

I’m working on a model of leadership which includes ‘believability’. What does this mean to you if a person is believable. What do they say and do to make them believable?

Below* is my response:

Believability in Leadership:

Believability is aligned with credibility.  Leaders possess credibility or ‘believability’ not so much because of what they say–rather it is more about:

1), What they DO.
2). What they have DONE.
3). How they COMMUNICATE.

Armchair theorists do not necessarily possess, or project believability. Someone in the trenches–who gets RESULTS, is one who is believable. An individual who has an actual, consistent track record of accomplishments has credibility.

What is said is less important relative to being perceived as being “believable” than what is–or has been done/accomplished.

However, if what is said or communicated by the leader closely resonates with the experiences and aspirations of his/her listeners or followers, the worthiness of having belief in the leader  is  often reinforced .

If one “talks the talk” without “walking the walk,” believability–or actual credence,  is much less likely, though not impossible.

A notable exception would be an astute orator, actor, dynamic speaker or “con man” who says all the right things, simultaneously  exhibiting supportive body language, that reverberates within the hearts and minds of an audience or group of followers.

Charlatans and hypocrites have masqueraded as “believable” luminaries of one sort or another for centuries, often without any positive, tangible track record in alignment with their message–or authentic concern for the interests of their audience/followers.

In summary, the genuine Leader possessing credibility or believability is one who “has been there, done that.” An individual who happens to be an excellent communicator, who additionally possesses verifiable experience and accomplishments, is the most likely to be perceived as believable.

*Edited a few minutes after posting on LinkedIn with minor changes.

Some Additional Thoughts We must be vigilant regarding whom we trust as our leaders, particularly in the political area.  I do believe that Inspirational Leadership can be a very positive force for good in the business world, yielding  many positive, tangible results.

However, in the political spectrum, we must be especially careful when “leaders” tell us they want to initiate “fundamental transformations” in our society.

History reveals a plethora of tyrants and demagogues who, when they appeared on the scene, claimed they wanted to help the masses; many were effective in inspiring throngs and great multitudes, but their “transformational leadership” in reality solidified their own power, ultimately  leading to the bondage and slaughter of millions.

The same “credibility principles” apply when assessing a political leader: Take a look at What do they DO; what have they DONE; how they communicate.

Similarly, the fact that charlatans and hypocrites have masqueraded as “believable” luminaries of one sort or another for centuries should encourage us all to adequately scrutinize the backgrounds of those whom we elect or appoint in leadership roles, especially in the realm of government and politics.

There is no need for paranoia–nor bias, as we examine what our potential political leaders have said or done.

Due diligence minimizes risk and uncovers weaknesses that may not be apparent when staring at the outer veneer.  When we consider hiring someone for a job in sales, marketing or other business role, we check out their track record.

Especially during times of economic uncertainty, we should be most careful about whom we entrust with navigating the many challenges facing our country and the planet.  One way or the other, our selections will surely impact our lives–and the lives of our children and grandchildren.

America's Leading Biz Dev Consultant

John A. Fallone, Traininguru

John A. Fallone is a Biz Dev Consultant, marketing strategist, sales executive, turnaround specialist, training guru, motivational speaker, legendary sales manager, copywriter and Founder, President, & CEO of TRAININGURU. http://www.traininguru.com/

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One Response to ““Believability” in Leadership”

  1. Sarah S. Clarke Says:

    john, I’m in agreement your keen analysis regarding the meaning of “believability” in leadership–and the need to be cautious relative to whom we elect to positions of authority in government.

    The ability to read from a teleprompter and spout populist platitudes does NOT a leader make.

    Talk without a track record of results is useless.
    –SSC


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