A study by leadership gurus James Kouzes and Barry Posner found that integrity and competence were the two most desirable traits leaders could possess. Ultimately these two traits boil down to credibility. Credibility is not given to leaders, it must be earned. One of the most reliable ways for leaders to build credibility is to DWYSYWD: do what you say you will do.
Do you demonstrate the expectations of your members?
If you promise to get back to someone or follow up on something, do you?
Need your members to respond quickly to emails or requests? How quick is your own response?
Do your actions align with the mission, vision and values of Gamma Phi Beta?
Establishing credibility as a leader has additional benefits. The study by Kouzes and Posner also found that when members of an organization find their leaders to have high credibility, those members are significantly more likely to:
- Be proud to tell others they are part of the organization
- Feel a strong sense of team spirit
- Feel attached and committed to the organization
- Feel a sense of ownership for the organization
So how can you make sure that you DWYSYWD? Here are three ways:
Say no. It is better to say no than to make a promise or commitment you know you can’t keep. Being upfront about your time and abilities will keep your credibility intact.
Be transparent. Don’t make your members guess what your motivation or intent might be as a leader. Be open and honest – people are more likely to trust what they can see.
Be human. Being a leader does not also make you a superhero. Set expectations that are realistic for yourself and for others.