Cover image for Credibility : how leaders gain and lose it, why people demand it
Credibility : how leaders gain and lose it, why people demand it
Kouzes, James M., 1945-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco, CA : Jossey-Bass, [2003]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 342 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD57.7 .K678 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



"Leadership is personal. It's not about the corporation, the community, or the country. It's about you. If people don't believe in the messenger, they won't believe the message. If people don't believe in you, they won't believe in what you say. And if it's about you, then it's about your beliefs, your values, your principles."-- from Credibility
In this best-selling book, Kouzes and Posner (authors of The Leadership Challenge), explain why leadership is above all a relationship, with credibility as the cornerstone. They provide rich examples of real managers in action and reveal the six key disciplines and related practices that strengthen a leader's capacity for developing and sustaining credibility. Kouzes and Posner show how leaders can encourage greater initiative, risk-taking, and productivity by demonstrating trust in employees and resolving conflicts on the basis of principles, not positions.

Author Notes

James M. Kouzes is chairman emeritus of the Tom Peters Company and an executive fellow at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Kouzes and Posner update their 1993 book, confirming that credibility continues to be the foundation of leadership and that the key component of credibility is trust. The new edition reflects a changing landscape for a new generation of leaders and includes global research, new case studies, and acknowledgment of more open organizations, globalization, and increased social media. The authors' six disciplines for earning and sustaining credibility are to discover yourself, appreciate constituents, affirm shared values, offer continuous education for constituents to bring values and purpose to life, serve constituents, and personally support constituents through recognition and rewards. Kouzes and Posner conclude that what you do as a leader begins in your mind, gets expressed in your words, and then gets translated into your actions. Over time those actions become who you are, determine the credibility you earn, and shape the legacy you leave. This thought-provoking book offers an important perspective for current and aspiring leaders.--Whaley, Mar. Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

This timely new edition of Kouzes and Posner's 1993 text incorporates research that reflects the increasing importance of credibility for effective leadership. The authors offer strategies to enhance credibility by reaffirming values and not promising results that can't be delivered, arguing that credibility and loyalty are inextricably linked. In their view, a leader lacking credibility suffers from diminished productivity and a lack of loyalty, creating constituents indifferent to outcomes and low morale. While Kouzes and Posner (The Leadership Challenge) offer useful advice for would-be leaders, as well as for a general business audience, they tend to repeat themselves and present an idealized view of the workplace. They offer very little advice about how to approach superiors who may not appreciate forthrightness, and in fact, the book's best advice is for leaders who already have the power to shape corporate culture. That said, the book is easy to follow and offers actionable advice, even if readers grow frustrated with its rose-tinted glasses. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Introduction: On Credibility and Characterp. xiii
1. Leadership Is a Relationshipp. 1
Being Part Of, Not Apart From
Linking Leadership, Service, and Quality to Relationships
Learning What Constituents Expect
Identifying Key Characteristics of Admired Leaders
Discovering Credibility as the Foundation
Earning Credibility
2. Credibility Makes a Differencep. 27
The Spirited Individual
Gains for the Cynics
The Reasons for Cynicism
The Visible Leader
Doing What We Say: The Critical Difference
The Six Disciplines
3. Discovering Your Selfp. 58
Clarifying Your Credo: "This I Believe"
Evaluating Values
Acquiring Competence
Self-Confidence: Believing You Can Do It
Character: Summing It All Up
Discovering Your Self: First Steps/Next Steps
4. Appreciating Constituents and Their Diversityp. 88
A New Ethic: Shifting the Focus from Self to Other
Enriching Performance Through Diversity
Showing Appreciation by Listening
Soliciting Feedback
Promoting Constructive Controversy
Engendering Trust
Taking Risks and Gaining Innovation
Appreciating Constituents: First Steps/Next Steps
5. Affirming Shared Valuesp. 119
Using Shared Values to Make a Difference
Finding Common Ground
Creating a Cooperative, Proud Community
Using Organizational Systems to Reinforce Shared Values
Reconciling Values Dilemmas
Affirming Shared Values: First Steps/Next Steps
6. Developing Capacityp. 153
Liberating the Leader in Everyone
Building Competence: Educate, Educate, Educate
Offering Choices, Encouraging Ownership
Inspiring Confidence
Creating a Climate for Learning
Promoting Communication and Feedback
Fostering Mutual Responsibility
Developing Capacity: First Steps/Next Steps
7. Serving a Purposep. 183
Going First
Staying in Touch
Making Meaning, Daily
Becoming a Storyteller
Teaching with Moments of Learning
Losing and Regaining Credibility
Establishing Systems and Structures
Serving a Purpose: First Steps/Next Steps
8. Sustaining Hopep. 218
Taking Charge: Demonstrating Courage of Conviction
Arousing Positive Thoughts and Images
Giving Love and Encouragement
For Healthy Lives and Superior Performance: Making Hope a Priority
Sustaining Hope: First Steps/Next Steps
9. The Struggle to Be Humanp. 247
The Tension Between Freedom and Constraint
The Tension Between Leading and Following
Perception of Success
From Excellence to Excess
Renewal: New Beginnings from the Old Ending
Appendix Studies on the Impact of Credibility and What Constitutes Credible Behaviorp. 275
Notesp. 289
Acknowledgmentsp. 317
The Authorsp. 321
Name Indexp. 327
Subject Indexp. 333