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Credibility: Hard to Achieve – Easy to Lose!

There have been many studies on credibility in life and particularly in management. It seemed like an interesting topic to read and reflect on. I am not going into a huge diatribe merely making a few observations.

In this world we live and die by our credibility. It takes years to build up a level of credibility and you have to maintain it constantly or lose it in an instant!

Credibility is an important aspect for a leader and trusted advisor. One of the interesting aspects is that there are three levels to your credibility. Namely how you perceive yourself, how others perceive you and finally how you are perceived within the organization. The perception by others maybe very local but for many managers and consultants who work globally this can have an extended web! Each of these needs to be in some form of alignment so as to be meaningful and deliver the results.

If we struggle to believe the persona we project how would we succeed? Look at successful credible people they have an aura of success. They project success. In management and in life we need to be positive to keep moving ahead and developing our credibility.

If you think you’re the cat’s whiskers and you colleagues have a different opinion. This would not be good. You have to try through a 360 degree evaluation to ensure some alignment on this.

Then look a little further out in your organization. How are you doing? How is your management team doing? Your company as a whole?

Credibility is the ultimate foundational for effective;
• Leadership/Team Building
• Relationship Development
• Coaching & Teaching
• Customer Service
• Sales

Credibility is; “The level of respect others have about you”

As credibility goes up, so does other’s willingness to;
• Believe what you believe
• Value what you value
• Support your plans
• Help you achieve your goals
• Be honest with you
• Trust you

What makes credibility increase and decrease?

• Behavior perceived as being appropriate (from the other person’s perspective – not yours) to time, tasks, people and situations, makes credibility increase.

• Behavior perceived as being inappropriate for the same factors makes it decrease.

Developing Credibility Behavioral Examples that Build

• Honesty
• Devotion
• Punctuality
• Good Example
• Ethical Behavior
• Taking responsibility for behavior
• Keeping promises
• Forgiving and Understanding
• Getting Involved
• Focusing on the Positive

Avoiding Credibility Behavioral Examples that Destroy

• Dishonesty
• Lack of Devotion
• No Concern for Time
• Setting a Bad Example
• Unethical Behaviour
• Breaking Promises
• Denying responsibility for Behaviour
• Unforgiving
• Not Involved
• Focusing on the Negative

Think how Kenneth Lay, and Jeff Skilling destroyed their credibility in the Enron debacle. I am not so sure that Martha Stewart’s credibility was damaged by her short stay in prison. She was not guilty of insider trading, which would have destroyed her credibility! Maybe he legal system took a hit. Perhaps more so internationally than locally. Kinda weird!

We wont discuss politicians. Each one could have a book written by the ebb and flow of their credibility.

Build your credibility and maintain it – your life does depend on it!

Graeme Nichol Arcturus Advisors ( with business leaders and their teams to close the gap between great strategies and mediocre results. (Newsletter