Why credibility is the foundation of leadership. 

By  Debbie Nicol

Credibility cannot be bought in a shop, it cannot be bottled nor is it transferable to another. Rather, credibility is earned by doing what you say you will do, time and time again, whether people are watching or not. Credibility is important and is earned based on observable, tangible evidence.

An appreciation of credibility can deepen when comparing it to watching television. Relaxing in front of a television while noticing the actor’s mouth is moving yet the words are heard 2 seconds later is enough to make me jump out of my chair and turn the set off; it’s just not serving in the way I expect it to. Similarly, when the opposite occurs with visual and the audio being in sync, I trust the television unit, the actors, the show and all that it encompasses.  The former example is fraught with a lack of credibility, yet the latter exudes credibility.

According to Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, co-authors of The Leadership Challenge®, as the world falls deeper into economic downturns and conflicts, as communities become more heatedly partisan and as many workplaces show growing signs of disengagement, issues of credibility remain front and central.

 Credibility is the currency of effective leadership. Currencies stay strong when the market is active, the environment is robust, and the people are confident. Currencies weaken when the market weakens, becomes inconsistent and people have no idea what the future holds. In times of turbulence and change, leaders create psychological safety, wellness and stability through the virtue of credibility.


  1. When have you said one thing, and done another?
  2. Why did you feel that was acceptable? (Remember: others deposit or withdraw from their ‘trust’ account based on your actions)
  3. On a daily basis, how often do you check your ‘credibility balance’, and if decreasing, how proactive are you in turning that around?


hybridIt with heart


Debbie Nicol

Debbie is tenacious, resilient, can break complexity and ambiguity into concrete simplicity, eats the stage, loves to challenge, Author.
Debbie is a Change Practitioner, Facilitator, Conceptualizer, Design Capability, Asks the right questions, Builds Customized Solutions, Life's Mirror

Debbie Nicol

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