Credibility and integrity are currency of leadership. It is with these two things that leaders lead. The more or less they have of them, the more or less influence they have. Leaders with no or little integrity have no authority to demand the same of those they lead.
Before people decide to follow you, they want to know how credible you are. Credibility is built on integrity and integrity is the product of consistency. Of being true. A unity of words and action, no doubt about who you are and what you stand for.
It is assumed, of course, that your words and actions are benevolent ones toward those you lead and others you come into contact with.
Reputation is the fruit, or lack of, credibility. Your track record. A platform that leaders stand on. With every interaction, whether with their team or others, leaders trade with their reputation. A great reputation is like building a castle on a rock – Difficult to build.
On the other hand, losing your reputation is like a contest between fire and paper. You know which one is going to win.
Your dealings as a leader cost more than what they appear. With every transaction as you lead your team or interact with those your organization serves, is a trade deeper than an exchange of products or services.
With every ‘transaction’ you add or withdraw from your reputation account. Every leader has one. A reputation account I mean. Besides the cost in dollars (or whatever currency you use) there’s a cost to reputation. It is not visible on price tags but it is there.
Those you choose to associate with will either add or subtract from your reputation account. By the way, at some point, everyone will get to know the balance of your account. Statements, showing all your transactions, will eventually be available for all to view.
And, based on that, people will decide whether to trust you with the honor of being led by you. They will decide whether to do business with you.
One of the mistakes many leaders make is they think no one will ever get to see the transactions. However, they get found out anyway. And become good bad examples. An exhibit for what you should not be as a leader.
How you manage your reputation account determines the kind of example you will be. Will you be a good bad example or one of a legacy worth emulating?
How you manage trading with your reputation could either be your demise or a catapult for your success for the cause you lead.
The sad thing is that it doesn’t matter how noble your cause is. Your reputation will obliterate the efforts of your cause. Your work can easily go to waste.
In everything you do, remember the hidden but present cost.
Do not think only about what you achieve but what you become.
Blessing has worked in IT leading development teams and presently serves as a team director, managing volunteers. He is also involved in youth leadership development and passionate about non-self-serving leadership. He serves as a digital media manager, passionate about social media. He is a writer and speaker on leadership, challenging leaders to shatter the status quo for the greater good. He sees himself as a leadership heretic. Read more from Blessing at blessingmpofu.com