by Micki K. Lewis MS-MOB, PCC

 

As a leader it is our task to OWN credibility, that’s a given… and how about our teams?  How do you help them instill stronger credibility with their teams?   How about across the entire organization?

Defining credibility is both simple yet complicated. There are so many factors determine a Leader’s Credibility and remember it’s all about actions!

 

  • Behaviors: Past experiences we have with or have seen by our leader.
  • What expertise they bring to the table.
  • What is their background, education?
  • What about their People Skills?
  • How believable and reliable are they?
  • What actions demonstrate being trustworthy and honest?

According to Webster’s dictionary, Credibility is “the quality of power of inspiring belief.”  The Oxford dictionary defines credibility as “the quality of being trusted and believed in, and, the quality of being convincing or believable.”

Wikipedia denotes,  “Credibility comprises the objective and subjective components of the believability of a source or message.”  “Credibility has two key components: trustworthiness and expertise … each have objective and subjective components.”[1]

“I knew credibility would come only in time and through earnest performances.”    Dwayne Johnson

Additionally, research shows there is a strong correlation between a successful company and a credible leader.  Each goes hand in hand.  According to Reference.com, “when a leader is not credible, others are less likely to believe what they say or teach.  Being credible also helps people truly believe that the leader of person in charge is worth of the job at hand.  Credibility is also important for people who do not lead, since it portrays the person in question is trustworthy and believable in whatever tasks they do.  The team benefits as well as the associate can be counted on.”

We all are aware of these elements of being a leader:  First in order is to be authentic – real – not glib (fake), individualistic, egotistical – thinking only about yourself. It is our privilege to Think and Do for others, acknowledge others.  There is another great quote from Les Brown that talks about success.  “Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.”   These factors will build the company, influence others and impact your credibility.

If you aren’t sure about where you stand regarding credibility, reach out to trusted colleagues and ask them where you stand on a scale from high credibility or solid credibility (10) to a (1) being having low or poor credibility. Ask them to personally rate you AND THEN how they think OTHERS might rate you.  You may be surprised what they say AND what they observe. Do your best not to be defensive– remember you asked them!

It’s easier to build credibility using objective elements since they are easier identified.  Subjective elements take more time and are much slower to be visible to others.  Since both trust and believability are a part of both, where can you build your credibly affecting both subjective and objective elements?  Below you will see both objective and subjective ways to impact your own credibility.

Objective Actions to Enhance Credibility

  • Identity a place where you can showcase your background, knowledge and expertise.
  • Author “in the loop” communication or articles either internally or externally sharing your knowledge on a subject or process or innovative way of thinking.
    • Department Newsletter
    • Organization Newsletter
    • External Article

Subjective Actions to Enhance Credibility

  • Who are the key stakeholders or influencers at your company? Seek them out and build solid relationships with them by offering your services or adding to what they may be searching as an extra support person.  Find ways to align with them – whether it be part of a specific project or maybe a community service org. they belong.
  • After you have built that rapport, identify where you might find an outlet for them to talk about you and share their trust and believability in you with others.

Both Subjective and Objective

  • Building relationships truly affects both the Objective and Subjective sides of credibility. It’s not going to happen overnight – so give it some time.  It will probably be one the best avenues with a limited amount of time!

Of course, doing these things and being transparent with your motives as not being viewed in a negative light is most important to building your credibility and will take time.  It’s not going to happen overnight!

What action step will you take right now?   Here is a quick plan to immediately implement credibility you and your team.

  1. ASSESS: Check in with your colleagues and get a flavor of where you stand regarding your/ your team’s Credibility.
  2. FOCUS: Keep Credibility as a focus area – both for yourself and each of your team leaders (and their teams!).
  3. BRAINSTORM, DEFINE and SHARE a common definition of Credibility with you and your team.
  4. COACH: Your teams on future focus – on building up their Credibility – use this exercise as a thought-starter, a learning moment at next team meeting.
  5. ACTION: Have each team member identify ONE action item to focus upon, all write down, all share with entire group for commitment and then use that action when a coaching moment emerges – whenever those low credibility gremlins show up!
  6. OBSERVE AND 1:1 CHECK IN: With your leaders on how they are focusing on their Credibility and what they will do differently if you noticed a time when their Credibility was at stake or could be stronger.
  7. MONTHLY: At monthly team meetings – put Credibility on the agenda for minimum 3 months to keep you and your team’s Credibility in check.  Making Credibility a priority builds higher awareness – allowing the team and you to create a solid environment for success.

 

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For more help with building your own credibility, contact Micki for a consultation.