Credibility is not something you automatically have, nor is
it something you can bestow upon yourself – it’s something others
bestow upon you. And, like beauty, credibility is in the eye of the
beholder. Therefore, in order for others to view you as credible,
you have to consistently and deliberately act your way into
Unfortunately, most people don’t give their credibility a
second thought. They automatically assume they are credible (after
all, who doubts their own credibility), yet they don’t take precise
measures to ensure that others view them the same way. But if you
don’t take active steps to enhance your credibility, others will do
it for you…and you may not like the results.
There are three main components to credibility that you need
to be aware of. They are your values, your behaviors, and your
reputation. Use the following information to manage each of these
areas and your credibility will increase.
your values over the course of your life and they ultimately shape
your expectations of others and of the world. And just as you have
values that you use to judge others by, so does everyone else. The
problem comes when those who are judging your credibility have
different values than you. For example, some people value arguments
and lively debate. So if someone values argument and you don’t, it
may look to you that the person is mean and likes to argue all the
time, when all they’re really doing is trying to encourage a lively
debate. But because you have different values, that person loses
credibility in your eyes for being a trouble-maker. And on the flip
side, the other person may view you as weak or “wishy-washy” because
you don’t engage in lively debates, when in fact you simply value
keeping the peace more so than arguments.
Another challenge arises when a value has degrees of
alignment. For example, most people say they value accuracy. But
does everything need to be 100 percent accurate, or is 80 percent
accurate enough? Exactly how accurate something is can be a
reflection on credibility. Therefore, you need to know what others
value and to what degree they value it, as their own standards will
dictate the level of credibility they bestow upon you.
Behaviors are things you choose to do. We all make thousands of
choices every day, from whether to visit a sick friend in the
hospital to which employee to promote or lay off. We choose whether
we hold deadlines in high regard, whether we greet someone in the
hall, and whether we’re direct or indirect with others. The key
thing to remember is that you’re judged by your outward behavior
that you choose to display, not by your wonderful intentions. We all
have great intentions, but most people don’t follow through on them.
Some key behaviors to focus on as you attempt to boost your
promise. Do what you say you will do. You choose what you will
and will not do every day.
Be open about
your motives behind a directive or decision. You choose what you
Fess up to
mistakes (early and always). You choose to cover things up or
put them out in the open.
confidences. Get permission before divulging sensitive
information. You choose whether or not to repeat information.
consistently and fairly. You choose your actions toward others.
others. You choose where you put your mental focus.
reputation is the total of what your values are and how you choose
to act. Ultimately your behaviors lead to your reputation, and then
all three of these factors – your values, your behaviors, and your
reputation – lead to credibility.
Your reputation is something you have, whether you know it or
not. And unfortunately, you can get a bad reputation very easily.
For example, if someone else values prompt return phone calls, and
you routinely don’t return phone calls, you’ll quickly get a bad
reputation as someone who doesn’t follow through. In fact, it’s
often the small things – like not returning emails promptly – that
tarnish someone’s reputation more so than the bigger issues.
The good news is that you can enhance your reputation by
working on it, which will inevitably boost your credibility. You
simply need to think about the behaviors you choose and the kind of
reputation you want to earn. Therefore, find out what people’s
expectations are of you and then meet them. Additionally, observe
people who are successful or who you think have a good reputation.
What behaviors do they choose and why have people bestowed
credibility on them?
Finally, realize that being likable doesn’t play a big part
in your reputation. You can be very quiet, shy, and totally
introverted yet still have a stellar reputation. Conversely, you can
have a great personality, be the life of the party, and be totally
charming, but have a less than flattering reputation. So no matter
who you are, where you work, or what your personality, you can have
a great reputation.
In today’s economy
and job market you need to take the proper steps to enhance your
credibility. In fact, if you’re not taking values, behaviors, and
reputation into consideration, you could quickly find yourself out
of a job with few prospects for new work, as your credibility will
be tarnished. A lot is on the line here, so take it seriously. Build
your creditability today so you can have the success you desire for
years to come.
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