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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Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall being torn down, yet very little has been mentioned in the news regarding the historic speech President Ronald Reagan had given in 1987 in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

Despite the concerns of “politically correct” politicians and pundits at the time (including many from in his own party), Reagan did not shrink from challenging the Soviets to offer a tangible sign of their sincerity regarding the cause of Liberty and world peace. When our President boldly exclaimed, “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall…” he demonstrated the kind of strength and leadership that seems to be lacking in the political arena today.You may view and listen to a portion of the speech by clicking:
http://www.thefoxnation.com/berlin-wall/2009/11/09/20th-anniversary-watch-reagans-tear-down-wall-speech

While I’m certainly not a big fan of being overly cautious, paranoid, nor do I envision conspiracy theories lurking around every corner, I do believe it is wise to not take anything for granted. Lest we assume all is secure as we navigate life, we should remain aware of what is going on around us…and within us.

Most people are readily alarmed and jarred into awareness when some major catastrophe suddenly touches their lives, particularly when it results in some significant, less than desirable change (an accident resulting in some permanent damage, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, the assassination of the President of the US, etc.); however, we are often less likely to be aware of the impact of insidious, gradual changes that may be going on within or around us.

The Metaphor of the Boiling Frog comes to mind as I write these words:

The story is often told that “if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will immediately react and do everything possible to hop out as it senses the danger of the scalding liquid,” but “if a frog is placed into a pot of tepid water that is only gradually heated over time, it will fall into a complacent stupor, not perceive the increasing temperature and eventually boil to death.”

People and nations often do not diligently pay attention to, nor perceive the potential dangers that their own weaknesses, transgressions and compromises which, left unchecked, may yield gradually over time.

As individuals, we may find ourselves in a perilous or vulnerable situation not because of one isolated mistake, but rather, from a series of gradual departures from what is best. Smoking one cigarette won’t instantly kill you (unless the room you are smoking in happens to be filled with intense gasoline fumes); but over time, smoking is detrimental to health. Compromising in one relatively small area of principle may initially appear innocuous; indulged over time, it may  gain a foothold that imperceptibly alters the fabric of our character, leading to a “fall from grace”– or worse.

Similarly, as we consider the dangers inherent in today’s world of conflict, pandemics, disasters and strife, we should not place our heads in the proverbial sand; nor should we ignore possible inappropriate,  incremental changes that may be occurring within ourselves, and approaching from within our own borders.

A former US President had expressed some ideas on this topic:

At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth … in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide. – Abraham Lincoln

What are your thoughts, reader?

Warm regards,

John

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John A. Fallone
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