When you speak, do people listen? You don’t have to be E.F. Hutton
to command attention and respect in the workplace. But you do have to
Credibility in the workplace means
believability. Simply put, do people believe what you say? Is your
reputation based on a track record of telling the truth? Are your
estimates accurate, your forecasts realistic and your word solid? Or
are you a big talker, a storyteller or a spin doctor? Strive to be a
The Right Way to Speak and Write
From the moment you submit a résumé and then interview for a job, the
credibility counter is activated. Are your CV’s assertions accurate,
your chronology factual and your affiliations, degrees and awards
correct? Whether spoken or written, our communication must withstand
the test for truthfulness.
Whether or not you are "found out" during the interview process, you
can lose your job and damage your career immeasurably when you lie,
misstate or misrepresent your accomplishments. Pulitzer prize winning
authors have been undone, as have supposed war heroes and many a
politician, by aggrandizing or completely falsifying one’s past
accomplishments. You’re also susceptible to blackmail when you lie and
are then threatened with exposure. As we’ve just seen, there is no
"luck of the Irish" involved when you lie about your credentials, even
as the head football coach for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
For entrepreneurs this is especially true. You ARE your business. You
must be beyond reproach. Even a hint of impropriety can be fatal. Your
goal is to ooze integrity through your words and deeds.
Your Word Is Your Bond
People listen to what you say and how you say it. In every job
situation you have the opportunity to become known as a person of his
or her word. Conversely, you can become known for shading the truth,
for telling people what they want to hear, or parsing words as a
defendant might do under cross examination in a court of law.
We’ve all heard of the boy who cried wolf so many times that when a
wolf finally appeared, people had long since stopped listening. This
boy’s credibility had long since turned non-existent. The same is true
in the workplace. Whether you cry racism, sexism, ageism or favoritism
it’s important that there be credence to your claims. You do everyone a
disservice if you falsely accuse or ascribe such motives to actions
that otherwise occur
Words Are Sticks and Stones
Beyond misrepresenting your own accomplishments or capabilities, be
cautious of assertions made about others. Character assassination can
be fatal to careers, and not just the person you’re blaspheming.
Whether or not you’re a manager your words carry a weight to them that
affects others. Gossiping about others or spreading falsehoods or even
half-truths can flag you as dangerous, untrustworthy and ultimately
One of the keys to success in the workplace is engendering trust from
your co-workers. If you are gossiping or betraying confidences you
destroy your own credibility — as an honorable co-worker, a safe
confidante, and am ally.
Take the High Road
Workplaces provide ample opportunities for you to earn credibility.
Every time you make a deadline, do what you say you’ll do or are there
in a time of need for others, the department of the company at large,
your credibility rises.
Times when you defend the honor of co-workers who aren’t present,
refuse to engage in gossip, or caution others to give co-workers the
benefit of the doubt, you are showing wisdom and professionalism, which
raises your credibility in the workplace.
Similarly, when you "say the right thing" or "do the right thing" in ethical situations your credibility is enhanced.
Tell It Like It Is
Often employees fall down when it comes to admitting mistakes. The
credible communicator can admit errors or mistakes in a forthright and
direct manner. Everyone makes mistakes, yet the credible communicator
can address them and go about rectifying them, restoring confidence in
him or herself. Those lacking in credibility might try to cover up,
ignore or minimize their folly, often compounding the error of their
ways. Ultimately, it’s less important that you made a mistake, than
that you fixed it and can assure others it won’t happen again.
Know When to Say No
The credible communicator doesn’t just tell people what they want to
hear. Life would be easy of we could say "yes" to every request we
received. Yet realistically, agreeing to something you ultimately can’t
deliver on is detrimental to your reputation. Develop the fortitude to
say "no" when it’s the right answer, even through it may not be the
popular one. Over the long term, you will be respected for the accuracy
of your assessments, decisions and determinations, even if the news
isn’t music to the ears of all who listen. Sometimes the truth isn’t
popular or pretty, but a person who is a "straight shooter" is
respected by all.
Earning Your Stripes
Strive to boost your credibility rating at work and in your
professional relationships. You’ll know you’re succeeding when you hear
others tell you they know they can count on you, have confidence in
your projections and feel secure in their knowledge you’re on the team.
Don’t be in-credible…strive to be incredible!
About the Author: In
his youth professional speaker and corporate trainer Craig Harrison won
a Tall Tales Contest. Now he teaches classes on credibility for UC
Santa Cruz Extension and other institutions and helps professions
communicate and serve for success. Hire him at 510-547-0664, send
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and visit his website: http://www.Expressionsofexcellence.com for more value from Craig.