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A Preview of Credibility with James Kouzes


A summary of things you should know about Credibility according to James Kouzes:


In this episode James Kouzes reveals all his insights on Credibility where he discusses how successful leaders gain credibility, lose their credibility and why people demand credibility.

In his book Kouzes and co-author Barry Posner provide you years of research, case studies, and data that uncover 6 disciplines that build true, long-lasting credibility that leadership experts are good at gaining. The goal of the book is to help you understand the basics of building credibility and why it is important for the growth of your personal and professional success.

This book is perfect for entrepreneurs who are involved in every aspect in managing a business yet need help reinforcing their leadership abilities and building trust with others.

The Book’s Unique Quality (2:22)

Many people talk about integrity and honesty as a leadership quality and intuitively that makes sense. But a couple guys at a university take that question to be also an empirical one. As so we decided to do research on that topic and found that’s one of the fundamental differences between our work and other people who write on leadership. Our work is evidence based and backed by many interviews with people who are practitioners. This book also specifically addresses what leaders can do to earn and sustain credibility.

The Best Way To Engage (3:45)

It’s important that you start with the first couple of chapters and take a look at how we arrived at the conclusion that credibility is the foundation of leadership. From there you can read what is most relevant to you at the moment.

The Reader’s Takeaway (12:19)

Remember the phase credibility is the foundation of leadership and behaviorally that is defined as do what you will say you will do.

A Deep Dive Into The Book (4:37)

How we came to the conclusion that credibility is the foundation of leadership is we asked people what they look for and admire in leaders. So in the opening of the book we talk about what we discovered. We discovered that there are four qualities which people consistently and globally have selected as the most important qualities that they would look for in a leader they would willingly follow. At the top of the list is honesty and that’s followed by being forward looking, then competent, and then inspiring. Three of those four words that people look for and admire in a leader make up what researchers call source credibility which is defined as trustworthiness or honesty, competence or expertise, and dynamism or being inspiring and upbeat. Those three comprise source credibility or what it takes for you to believe in someone who is delivering a message. And when they are speaking you have to believe that the person has integrity, that they are expert in what they are talking about, and that they have some energy that they put behind it. With that as the foundation we asked the people that were involved in our research to answer the question what is credibility behaviorally, how do you know it when you see it. People look for somebody who does what he/she says they will do and that observation about behavioral credibility lead then to us taking a look at what one does to sustain credibility. We came up with a framework that has three parts to it. And from that there were six disciplines which are discover yourself, appreciate continuance, affirmed shared values, develop capacity, serve a purpose, and lastly is to sustain hope.

NOTE: That was just a summary. To get the full deep dive, play the audio clip at 04:37

Notable Quotes From The Book (13:08)

“If you don’t believe in the messenger you won’t believe the message.” – Kouzes and Posner first law of leadership.

The Credibility/Inspiration Of The Author (0:37)

I am co-author of The Leadership Challenge with Barry Posner which was our first book. I am also Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership at The Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University.

Barry and I wrote our first paper together at Santa Clara University where we met on shared values make a difference and that was in the early 80’s. And as part of that research we asked the question what do you look for and admire in a leader. And we found then, and when we did research on our second publication together, we asked that same question again and found a similar response. And that response was that essentially credibility is the foundation of leadership and so we decided that our second book together would be about that topic.

Other Books Recommended By The Author (15:05)

Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer
Give and Take by Adam Grant

More Information About This Book and The Author

Buy Credibility by James Kouzes on Amazon today
Visit LeadershipChallenge.com to learn more about James and his books
Follow James Kouzes on Twitter

More Information About This Episode

Download the full transcript here (coming soon)
Listen on iTunes, Stitcher , and SoundCloud

Related books:

The Prosperous Leader by Jacob Engel
Powerhouse by Mike Clayton
Pocket Man by Scott Jordan

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Wade is a 4-time serial entrepreneur and is the Founder/Host of The Entrepreneurs Library. With a long time passion for reading books, Wade created an online resource and podcast for entrepreneurs who love to read personal and business development books. His long-term goal in life is to start an entrepreneurial home schooling program for children of business-minded families.