The root of the word ‘credibility’ is ‘credo’ which means ‘I believe’ in Latin. So, in simple terms, it is the feeling of trust and respect that you inspire in others. Credibility is correlated to success in every sphere of life.
However, no single attribute creates credibility — it is in fact a combination of factors that must be in place for it to be established. I am sure that during your working career, you will have come across credible managers and leaders and not given it a second thought.
But if you think back now as to why they were credible, you might recall how reasoned, approachable, enthusiastic and committed to their work they always were and how, in turn, they encouraged their team to be likewise.
Find out if you are credible by asking yourself the following questions:
Believable: When you say something, do people believe what you say? Do you appear to be sincere and genuine? If you were to insist that black was, in fact, white, would others believe you?
Dependable: If I asked you to carry out an assignment, could I rely upon you to do it and finish it on time? Once you gain a reputation as dependable, everything will become easier for you as people will rely on what you say.
You are only as good as your reputation. If you are always late for meetings, that is for what you will become known and that is not a good place to be as you will be seen as being disrespectful of other people’s time. If you continually miss deadlines, that will impact others badly because you are an integral part of a team.
Trustworthy: Would I be able to trust you with confidential information that you would keep strictly to yourself? If you divulge such information to someone else, then your reputation will be damaged and it could be very difficult to retrieve it.
Accountable: Are you accountable for your actions, and/or non-actions? If something goes wrong, do you try to apportion blame elsewhere? “It wasn’t my fault — it was theirs!” People who will not take responsibility for their own actions are hard to work alongside as they will say things like “WeIl, that’s not my issue”, “It’s not my fault…”, “I was let down,” etc.
Integrity: Do you hold steadfastly to a strict moral and/or ethical code? Do you always speak the truth? Of course, I appreciate that there are times when you may cover up a slight indiscretion but, overall, would you regard yourself as an honest person?
And would others describe you as honest — not forgetting that our own perception of ourselves is not always the same as others.
Effective: Do you respond quickly to communication or do people have to remind you to answer e-mails, return the phone call or write the letter? Acting effectively is to be reliable and responsible. It is about not leaving ‘loose ends’ for someone else to find and sort out.
It means that others in your team can rely on your ability to get things done in an appropriate manner and within time constraints and deadlines.
Consistency: Are you known to always ‘follow through’ or do you often leave a job in the middle? Do you maintain a high standard for all the work that you produce so that others need not worry about the quality of the service that you are paid to provide — and also those other services which you provide but are not necessarily remunerated?
Likeability: We tend to buy from, and to deal with, people we like and likeability is in some ways as important an ability which means that successful people know how to incorporate expertise with likeability — which is a really valuable, feel-good characteristic.
Credibility is something that we acquire over time and which, if we have it, we carry with us throughout our lives and which becomes an integral part of our persona. Because credibility has the power to inspire trust, we should not underestimate the importance of the personal factors of honesty and integrity, both within, and outside of, the workplace.
You will note from the above, that these personality factors overlap and are integral with one another. Taken together, they inspire trust. And that is the basis of all business transactions.
So, where do you fit in on the credibility scale?