BLG Leadership Insights

Building Leadership Credibility With Spell Check

type writer editorA leader earns credibility. As Professor Bacharach argues in Inc. magazine a leader can demonstrate credibility in four ways:

  1. Position
  2. Integrity
  3. Knowledge & Experience
  4. Time & Opportunity

While building credibility in all of these arenas is crucial for any leader an article in today’s Harvard Business Review speaks to establishing credibility via knowledge and experience.

Barbara Wallraff, an editor at The Atlantic, suggests a leaders should increase and protect their credibility by making sure their emails, documents, and messages are well written and edited. After all,

“People jump to all kinds of conclusions about you when they read documents you have written. They decide, for instance, how smart, how creative, how well organized, how trustworthy, and how considerate you are. And once they have made up their minds, it is hard to get them to see you differently.”

Building leadership credibility isn’t always about grand gestures. Sometimes it’s about small, micro-behavioral actions you can do on a daily basis.


BLG Leadership Insights offers advice to leaders, entrepreneurs, and students  

BLG Leadership Insights

Win in China: China’s Reality of Business Leadership

Question: What country is home to the largest reality TV show that’s focused on entrepreneurship and capitalism?

Answer: China.


Reality TV competitions originated and have been perfected in America. Now, oddly, the genre’s largest expression can be found in China and it’s aptly called Win in China.

Win in China pits China’s best and brightest entrepreneurs against each other for a 10 Million RMB in business-start-up money. Contestants are judged, in part, by a panel of China’s top business leaders, including Jake Ma (founder of Alibaba: See him here, please) and by public popularity/votes.

In its inaugural season, according to The Atlantic’s China Correspondant James Fallows, Song Wenming won top prize for his service that promises to help perpetually under-employed people find work in his native Anhui province. Mr. Wenming barely defeated a proud pregnant woman and a passionate man, nick-named “Wolf”, who never finished high school.

Win in China’s premise is not new–it’s been done in the UK (Dragon’s Den) and in the US (The Apprentice, Shark Tank). Win in China’s novelty rests in the values it enforces, supports, and champions. In other words, the show surprises Chinese and Western audiences by celebrating the virtues of capitalism–smack in the middle of a communist-turned-socialist capital city.

Further, the show gives us a chance to look at the leadership skills demonstrated by some of China’s budding talents. Quick wits, calm demeanor, limitless creativity, and pools of industry knowledge are the traits China’s populace and business leaders vote for. The show’s popularity will teach a new generation about what it takes to be a strong business person and successful leader.

China’s creativity and entrepreneurial spirit have been questioned in the past. However, as Win in China is revealing, China’s ability to innovate and create won’t be easily written off in the coming years.

The show highlights some of the dramatic shifts within Chinese culture and it’s prompted Robert A. Compton to direct a recent documentary called “Win in China”, which takes the show’s reality-TV frame to tell a larger, maybe more important, story. The film promises to explore the tensions within Chinese culture and the dramatic changes are created from them. Enjoy the trailer and check it out:

BLG Leadership Insights

When is Superstar Leadership Needed?

This month’s Atlantic piece, Do CEOs Matter? has nicely laid out the conventional arguments for and against the need for aggressive leadership within organizations. The author, Harris Collingwood, ends by essentially saying that good leaders can create small gains whereas bad leaders will be responsible for huge losses. The idea here is: leaders can’t make mistakes.

CEOs represent the head of the social organization that is called a company. They are responsible for deciding where the company is headed, what it will avoid, and what it will say to the press. According to Collingwood, it goes without saying that sometimes companies, like families, will have poor figureheads representing them. In such cases, when the head of the family is cursed with bad luck and skills, the company will be adversely effected in a big way.

Yet, as the article did a good job of pointing out, it all depends on the type of social organization we’re dealing with.  Companies like Apple, lead by the energetically brilliant and ailing Steve Jobs, are in the business of technology–producing and selling hip electronics at competitive prices. Turnover is fast and tastes change dramatically. A CEO like Steve Jobs is needed to make bold calls and set trends before the competitors do. Steve Jobs, in this roll, is essential and his choices mean the difference between success and failure.

Place Steve Jobs at the head of a more traditional business, say a Saw Mill, and his energy, enthusiasm, and creativity won’t significantly effect the bottom line since the company’s ultimate success is tied to the cost of supplies, i.e. gas, and wood.

Good leadership is still essential for every company, whether it be static or energetic, because it can translate to better results and an organizational set up. However, ‘superstar’ leaders who aren’t competent have the dangerous ability to quickly ruin their company in mere weeks. In the world of celebrity CEOs like Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, and Bill Gates etc., it’s tempting to imitate their commanding leadership styles. It’s wise to remember that their industries demand more brazen leadership choices–yours might not. Humility, modesty, and a solid work ethic, though old-fashioned, are still more reliable character traits in a good leader; a leader who can guarantee positive results.