6 Ways to Establish Your Credibility as a Leader

6 Ways to Establish Your Credibility as a Leader

Paul Larsen — top executive coach, business consultant, and author — believes that no matter your background or experience, you can learn to be an effective and powerful leader. His new book, Find Your VOICE as a Leader, outlines a common sense V-O-I-C-E model that can help leaders at any level find their voice and make an impact. The following is an excerpt from his book.

It’s important to establish yourself as a leader, and credibility doesn’t come automatically. You have to prove to others that you are in fact a leader, and how you express yourself is important. I’ve found this isn’t always easy.

However, there are a few quick ways to make a difference and begin to establish a following.

Walk your talk.

If you tell people what needs to be done, that’s what you need to be doing as well. There’s no way to become a credible leader if you tell people to do one thing and then do something else. You have to follow your own advice before other people will follow you, and this is the first step to establishing credibility, regardless of your industry.

Follow up.

If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. This follow-up can be regarding a phone call, email, or anything else. Ultimately, it’s a way of showing that you’re good for your word. If you miss the follow-up, all the work you did face-to-face with someone will be lost, because they don’t think they can count on you.

Ask questions.

Ask questions about what other people are talking about. This shows you’re interested in what they have to say, and the questions you ask can portray your level of knowledge. It can also help to get the conversation headed in a desirable direction so you can express what you need to.


It’s often hard and I’ve mentioned it several times in this book, but you don’t always have to do the talking—even though you’re the leader. Listening to others can help bring issues into perspective and see where your colleagues are in terms of a certain topic. This goes hand in hand with asking questions, because once you ask the question, you have to listen to the response. Listen to understand versus listen to reply.

Have a backbone.

Once you make a decision, it’s important to have a backbone. Stand up for the decisions you’ve made, and don’t allow others to sway your vote. There are going to be instances where you make a stand for what you believe in, and others are going to talk about what they think of the situation. If you don’t waiver, it will demonstrate that you believe in what you’re saying and people will value you for that.

Admit mistakes.

Alexander Pope said, “To err is human.” When you make a mistake, which you inevitably will several times throughout your career, it’s important to demonstrate responsibility. Come forward and announce your mistake. It will show humbleness on your part, especially when you ask your followers and colleagues to forgive you.


Paul Larsen, author of Find Your Voice As A LeaderPaul N. Larsen, MA, CPPC, is a Certified Professional Performance Coach and an experienced leadership consultant and speaker. He has over 30 years’ business experience with executive and senior-level responsibilities within small and large companies, including being the Chief Human Resources Officer for a $3 billion organization. Paul partners with industry-wide leaders and teams from Fortune 100, start-up, and high-tech environments to find their unique leadership “VOICE” and create compelling and purposeful outcomes for their organizations. He has a proven track record with organizations such as SAP, Electronic Arts Twitter, and Walmart.  Read more about Paul and his latest book, Find Your VOICE as a Leader, at  www.paulnlarsen.com.


Image Credit: leolintang / 123RF Stock Photo


Enter A Comment

Deborah rodgers   |   06 February 2017   |   Reply

Great article.

Susan Mazza   |   15 February 2017   |   Reply

Thank you Deborah! Appreciate you taking a moment to comment.