Characteristic #50: Credibility

By | February 24, 2014

[February 24, 2014]  Senior leadership means having many attributes that are stronger and more powerful than other leaders less experienced and motivated.  Having credibility is one of those complex characteristics that is hard to describe … we know it when we see it. 

Being able to articulate the components of credibility is important because it reaches back to the strength of basic leadership.  There are many articles and a few books written on the subject.  But while much is written, there is not much agreement on its components.  So, what is “credibility?” 

Credibility refers to how people perceive leaders and whether they trust them.  Both tangible and intangible factors reveal why large organizations dedicate resources to accountability in managing leaders and developing leader credibility.  “What … makes for a leader that constituents would want to follow?  The answer: credibility.”1 

It is, therefore, generally agreed that a senior leader possessing credibility has built a reputation of trust and confidence in others.  These leaders are accountable for their actions and results of what they do.  There are other pieces to the web that encases credibility and they are: 

With the exception of “likeability,” we have directly discussed these characteristics of leaders in the past.  Likeability is really maintaining the human touch.  If you can “connect” with people, respect them, and treat them well, you will be likeable. 

Credibility is positively correlated to success in every sphere of life.  Credibility is, of course, difficult to achieve and easily lost.  Similar to reputation, a leader with credibility has something more for followers and that credibility offers a lifetime of successes when built and sustained. 


[1]  Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand it, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, Jossey-Basse, San Francisco. 1993.




Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.