“I think credibility, irrespective of what you do, if you are in public life, then it is important.”
It’s impossible to be an effective leader, or have a happy relationship if you aren’t seen as credible. Credibility is the filter that we use to determine if the person or information given to us is reliable.
Out of the countless stories that are leaked on the Internet we tend to rely on the credible news sources (ABC News, CNN, Fox News, etc.) in order to determine if the story is real or not. Even though the data may be accurate, if the source of the report isn’t credible we tend to not trust the story.
Lawyers understand this during trials. They will question the credibility of the person based on their past to taint the validity of their testimony. Even if the person was an eyewitness to the incident, the credibility of the witness will either support the case, or hinder it.
The reality is that we all have to deal with our credibility at work and at home. Our past either makes it easy for people to trust us, or it can be an obstacle that makes it more difficult.
Learning how to rebuild credibility when we have made mistakes is the key to effective leadership. Not understanding how our past actions or decisions impact our leadership or relationships is a mistake too many people make today.
Here are a few ways to assess your credibility with others.
- Integrity: Are you congruent? Integrity includes honesty, telling the truth, and leaving the right impression. When a person has a track record of either not telling the truth, or consistently misleading people, it makes it almost impossible to be seen as credible. It’s important to acknowledge the impact of the integrity issues of the past, and begin to rebuild trust daily by being consistently honest.
- Intent: What’s your agenda? Isn’t it interesting how skeptical people are? People who have been disappointed in the past will try to not get burned again. Intent is about your motive, agenda, and behavior. If people question your intent, the most important thing to remember is to be patient, consistent, and transparent. The more you show you are focused on serving, loving, and leading by putting other’s needs ahead of your own, the more receptive they will be over time to see you as credible.
- Capabilities: Are you relevant? Credibility also incorporates your talents, skills, knowledge, capacities, and abilities that allow us to perform or give advice. People always look to see if you have knowledge or experience in the area as a form of validation. Do people see you as an expert, or knowledgeable in the area you are trying to support? A lack of history or success in an area will cause people to hesitate in trusting your insight on the topic. Make sure you aren’t just sharing accurate information, but you also have demonstrated the skills and capabilities to be a trusted source.
- Results: What’s your track record? Could you imagine listening to Johnny Manziel talk about leadership and decision-making? How about listening to Lance Armstrong discuss the importance of integrity in athletics? Of course not! A persons track record is their report card. Your report card is either making your voice loud in the ears of those you lead, or it is operating like a muzzle and making it hard for people to hear what you are saying. Be mindful of your past, and if you need to address something that you haven’t be successful in, make sure you acknowledge it, and share what you learned from the mistake.
You don’t have to be perfect to be credible. But you do need to acknowledge your imperfections to have influence!
VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.
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