The currency of leadership is credibility! Collins & Porras articulated this clearly and forcefully in their 1994 book, “Built to Last”. Draw the ‘credibility’ account down too low and you risk losing your team, and quite possibly your job. So how does one maintain a strong ‘credibility’ current-ratio? The answer is simple…learn how to use your V.O.I.C.E. This simple acronym will help you remember the fundamentals of credibility that inform the attitudes and habits of successful Conscious Leaders:
Values: Know what you believe and allow those beliefs to permeate and inform every interaction. Kouzes and Posner advise us: “To be credible as a leader, you must first clarify your own values, the standards by which you choose to live your life.” If you want to inspire followership and engagement, know your truth…and own it every day.
Optimism: One attribute that clearly separates successful leaders from pretenders is the ability and willingness to take the long view. Mature, conscious leaders remain fixed on the vision and strive persistently toward the goal despite the upheaval and tumult along the way. Daily mood swings do not inspire trust. There is no quicker way to lose your team than to convey pessimism and foreboding every time negative news arrives. Accept that there will be setbacks along the way; look beyond them; lead with a positive outlook.
Integrity: The word, ‘integrity’, is derived from ‘integer’…one, and signifies wholeness; an absence of duality; a “what-you-see-is-who-I-am” persona. At its most basic, Integrity is alignment between beliefs, words, and actions. Be who you say you are.
Courage: Demonstrate your commitment to your beliefs by taking reasonable risks in pursuit of team objectives. More importantly, take risks on people – allow them to try. Better yet, allow them to fail. And when they do, pick them up, dust them off and get them back in the game – help them fail forward! Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the ability act boldly in the the face of it. Teach your team it’s OK to fail, as long as they (and you) are learning, adjusting and growing along the way.
Enthusiasm: Passion is contagious; regrettably, so are ambivalence, doubt, and detachment. Genuine enthusiam conveys a deeply held belief in the validity of the endeavor. It tells the team, “I believe in what we’re doing”. Guess what…they will too!