Now that I’ve shared four ways to boost your credibility, here are four ways to jeopardize it.
There is only one condition worse than not having credibility, and that is having had credibility and losing it. Credibility lost is extremely hard to regain, so let’s look at key causes and successful prevention techniques:
1. Your success track record ends.
When that happens, so will your credibility. You either will make continuous progress and achieve victories, or you won’t. The choice is yours.
2. You become deceitful.
Most unethical conduct is committed for the organization’s gain, not personal gain. But that doesn’t lessen the impact. “White lies” in business — unlike those in family situations, where the complete truth might significantly hurt a loved one — can be tolerated in very few situations. When someone knows that you’ve lied, that person immediately questions what else you’ve been lying about, are lying about or will be lying about. And that, friends, throws your credibility over the edge of the cliff.
3. You fail to share credit, thus undermining credibility.
That’s why I continue to emphasize accepting blame and sharing credit. It’s better to risk providing credit to even peripheral contributions than to fail to reward it for just one person.
4. Your ego becomes bigger than a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
If you think only of, about and for yourself, that will become quickly apparent to those around you. You must demonstrate that you’re acting with others in mind via gestures of generosity that are clearly visible. A simple and public “thank you” often packs more punch than a reward handed over in the privacy of an office. There are reasons why the U.S. military puts medals on people in front of a lot of other people.
Can you return from credibility self-immolation?
It’s tough, but yes. And when you do, you’ll be joining a club of famous people who came back from the abyss to reinvent their careers and (in some cases) attain even higher heights — including Bill Clinton, Hugh Grant, Robert McNamara, Tiger Woods, and Jack Welch.