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No managerial title is required in order to be a leader. As a consequence, leadership in its purest form does not rely on the kind of coercive power which comes with managerial authority. By virtue of such power, managers can compel compliance with their directives. Leaders, by contrast, gain compliance by drawing on their influence.
Leaders must therefore strive to maximize their influence. They do so by building credibility in three critical domains. First is the social domain, where their character must give them credibility. Second is the professional domain, where their competence is the key to credibility. And third is the leadership domain, where they gain credibility by achieving the concrete results which are expected of them.
The depth and scope of their credibility determines the degree to which leaders are trusted. For a person to be trusted as leader, however, there is no substitute for producing desired outcomes. Failure in this regard costs a leader the necessary credibility to be trusted in their role as a leader. Their character and their competence may still be trusted. But they will no longer benefit from the influence which comes from being trusted as a leader.
This episode delves into leadership credibility, what it takes to build it, and what it takes to maintain it.