The Credible Leader – An Overview

In this episode, Travis Nipper, sits down with Diane Egbers, CEO and Founder of  Leadership Excelleration and co-author of The Ascending Leader, to get an overview of the upcoming series of podcast on “The Credible Leader”.

Travis: Diane, welcome to the show. You’re certainly a credible coach and we are certainly glad to give you an opportunity to share your over 20 years of coaching executives and leadership team. The concept of credibility and credible leaders carries so much meaning and weight. This concept, I know has been in your mind for years, but seems to have more relevance now in the framework that you have created for it. Take me back to the beginning. How did the concept of “The Credible Leader” first get on your radar?

Diane: The concept first got on my radar as we were coaching and started to recognize that leaders were struggling as they got to that critical 9 to 12 month period and were still not seen as highly credible. So often we would come into coach and interview those that surround the leader and find that they were really lacking in credibility.

Travis: Interesting. Now, what do we know about credibility? Can you tell me more about what you know about that and what are the foundations of credibility? I know the words character and competence come into play. What are those foundations?

Diane: Going back to Steven Covey and the speed of trust. Around 2009, he proposed a definition of this as character and competence. So we think of character as our integrity and our intent, and confidence is centered around our capabilities and abilities to get results. And since then we’ve really expanded on that definition and it’s really growing into more of a comprehensive way for leaders to think about their success overall.

Travis: That’s interesting. And the way I am envisioning this is the classic four-quadrants box where each quadrant represents an element that feeds into the middle of the box and define one as being a credible leader. Tell us about that.

Diane: The way we think about it is that which underlies all of our success as leaders today is our propensity to demonstrate well-being. And that is so important to credibility. Because when we lack well-being, we will show up often as distracted, fatigued, stressed, and not focused on those that we lead. And so well-being as a foundation when you think about that centered leader that we find credible you know leaders able to manage all the distractions,  The stress, all of the pace at which we work today, and to keep that centered sense of well-being. 

Travis: Yes! And who can’t relate with that need for a sense of well-being. And as we continue with this series, I do want to dive deeper into each of these, and we’ve already started at the top left there with well-being. Why don’t you just continue to walk us clockwise through that model moving to the upper right there. Where we briefly can hear about the next quadrant, I believe that’s relationships. The R word! Summarize for us how relationships feed into our credibility as a leader.

Diane: People get to choose who they follow and that’s a great thing about our freedom as adults. We choose to follow the leaders we can feel connected to, the leaders that reach out to us, and those that want to care about us as an individual as well as the work we do. That fundamental connection creates the opportunity for really strong enduring relationships. And that’s essential for and essential part for credibility

Travis: As we take that next step clockwise we move down to the lower right quadrant where we have culture. Now, culture to me, and how it’s created, has always been a bit enigmatic for me. Now you’re telling me it’s critical to one’s credibility. What’s that all about?

Diane: Well, culture eats change for breakfast, right? And that is one of the few sayings about culture that I really enjoy. It’s really a leaders ability to navigate the culture effectively to get resources, create results, build relationships, and influence that really is the key to credibility. Culture is such an important – while seemingly nebulous – such an important foundation of credibility. 

Travis: Yes it is. As we create the full circle here, the last quadrant in the bottom left is performance. Give us an overview of how this complements or aligns with the other three elements that feed into credible leadership.

Diane: Fundamentally, we believe that talent equals performance and that we are only seen as talent, and therefore credible as a leader, if we are really getting to performance outcomes. And that the team sees that they are part of a winning team. We know that the psychological factor is important. Ohio State just recently published a study on the winning nature of a team and what that contributes to individuals that’s around the team, and we know that it boosts everyone’s confidence and leaders are more credible if they are leading a winning team. 

And the way we define that in business is, are we getting results and are our people enjoying the work together in pursuit of those results.

Travis: Diane thank you! I know it was a short visit today just to get a quick overview as we kick off this series about the credible leader with this initial podcast. We thank you for your expertise and insight and we look forward to having you in the studio again as well as other experts. 

Stay tuned for our upcoming podcasts as we break down and learn more about each of these elements and how they can keep you as a leader on the leading edge.

Looking or Part 2 on Well-being? Click here!

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