Testing your leadership credibility

Here is a ‘teaser’ to assess your ability to get, maintain and enhance your credibility as a leader.

You will find three situations which you have to read carefully and then pick, out of the three options, the one that you think is the most appropriate:

Situation one

Your direct manager has just informed you that, because of the tough time you are facing in your business, you are going to have to lay off three members of your team. He has also asked you not to say anything to your team members but you know that they suspect something because of the rumours that are circulating. What should you do?

A. Follow your manager’s instructions and say nothing

B. Decide to be transparent and inform your team members that a layoff is going to take place and that they should get ready, ie check their options

C. Meet with each team member individually and coach them on how to face the difficult situation should it arise.

Situation two

Your team members have read in the newspapers that a merger is in the pipeline. They feel insecure because they know what could happen to their jobs if it takes places. They want to be reassured. You know that the negotiations are well advanced and you also believe that it would be a good thing for the company.

What do you think your next move should be?

A. Do not say a word because nothing is final yet. Do not spread fear around the team

B. Remain open and formulate, with your team members, a strategy to prepare for the future so that you are ready should the merger occur

C. Explain to your team members all the advantages of the merger. Be positive and encouraging.

Situation three

You have promised your team members to distribute a good bonus for the good work and outstanding results accomplished by them during the last 12 months. But you have just heard from your boss that the business situation is not good in other parts of the company and that the EXCOM has decided to cancel all bonuses this year. This could be very demotivating for your people.

What do you think you should do in such a sensitive situation?

A. Expose the situation to the team members and examine with them what kind of alternatives to the bonus you could offer

B. Do not hurry and wait to be sure that the decision made by the EXCOM will be confirmed

C. Talk to your boss and try to convince him to make an exception for your team.


With respect to the issue of credibility, the best answers are as follows:

  • situation one = C
  • situation two = B
  • situation three = A


The critical questions leaders must keep asking are:

  • am I credible right now?
  • if yes, why? If not, why not?
  • what can I do to get it back or improve it?

In other words, the leadership challenge is to set up and implement an agenda for positive and sustainable credibility.

Source: The article Credibility by Pierre Casse & Eoin Banahan was published in Training Journal, April 2013.

Read more

blog post page banner Drikus Feb 2024 (328 x 244 px)
Prof. Drikus Kriek
blog thumbnail webpage Feb Mar
Prof. Pierre Casse and Research Assistant Elnura Irmatova
blog banner Jan 2023
Prof. Drikus Kriek


Accreditations of the School