Most successful candidates and indeed successful individuals, in whatever capacity, seem to possess a high level of credibility. The nomenclature of credibility consists of character, competence and likeability. These three attributes play a huge role in opening the door to success in leadership or in just about any venture. They seem to be the undergirding prime factors behind earning respect, influencing behavior, and inspiring
You know, people may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel. One's character, competence and likeability attributes play a major role in that human transactional relationship often thought of as leadership. Therein is a great virtue of leadership at its best.
Great leaders, successful candidates, respected individuals are people who possess leadership qualities with substance. Think of leaders like Martin Luther King Jr, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela, to name a few. These individuals were great leaders because they earned trust from the people through strong attributes of character, competence and likeability. In a word, they possessed credibility.
If one were to examine, ever so briefly, the nomenclature of credibility, one might discover: First, each of these individuals embraced the attribute called competence. You know, if you want people to trust you as a person, you must be competent in what you do. People follow, respect and admire a competent leader. But secondly, competence must be reinforced with the second ingredient of honesty and truthfulness referred to as, character; indeed, character and competence complement one another. General H. Norman Schwarzkopf said, "To lead in the 21st century, you will be required to have both character and competence." These two qualities must be bound together with a third ingredient: likeability.
To display character and competence, without registering high on the "like-o-nomics" meter, is like the old expression "the gift without the giver, is bare." You know, as flour is to cake and as eggs are to an omelet .... likeability is the third indispensable ingredient to successfulness. People, who are likeable, are good listeners and are empathetic. Likeable people are humble and respectful. They radiate energy, enthusiasm and positiveness. "Likeability" that is the bonding ingredient.
Now, there are some even in today's political scene, who ... because of their own insecurity, dishonesty, and ineffectiveness ... try to paint others, particularly their competitor, in demeaning and degrading terms. They may try to define their competitor, without justification, as unlikable, standoffish, and out of step with the common people. This unscrupulous tactic is contemptuous and, and in reality, it nearly always backfires and has the direct opposite effect. For you see, what one gives out unjustifiably and disparagingly comes back to haunt the perpetrator. In reality, it destroys the very credibility of the instigator. Trying to win ugly is a guaranteed route to virtual failure.
In short, the attributes of character, competence, and likeability is the formula for successfulness. The sum and substance of these three attributes is credibility. Credibility is essential for successfulness in leadership or in any given undertaking.
You know, credibility is the "currency" of leadership. With a high degree of credibility, one's level of effectiveness is equally high. But with low or no credibility, the leader is ineffectual, and the leadership capacity is bankrupt.
And so, just as we began, credibility is a key word which leads to successfulness. It is the sum and substance of what you do well, and, how trusting people are of you. But especially well remembered, is how you made people really feel. That is, my friends, what is remembered and cherished most of all!
Dr. Robert L. Heichberger is professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Fredonia and distinguished professor at Capella University in Minneapolis. All of the past columns can be viewed on Send comments to: Rheich@aol.com