Four Ways to Elevate Your Credibility

In a previous post, I asked about how much credibility you have. Depending on how honestly you answered that question will determine whether you keep reading this post.

Here are four ways to build more credibility in the eyes of everyone you encounter:

1. Realize that nothing breeds success like success.

Publicize your successes, but don’t boast about them. Demonstrate your triumphs, relate your victories, repeat your progress. This is what I refer to as starting small, but just because they’re small doesn’t mean they aren’t worth noting or discussing. In short: Walk the walk. In so doing, you will acknowledge others’ contributions (accept blame, share credit) and begin to mold a track record of success.

2. Create a “rational future.”

I observed Steve Ballmer, post Bill-Gates, attempt to rally the troops at Microsoft’s 25th anniversary bash in 2000, and what he intended as a show of great energy and passion came across as bizarre beserkness (which is exactly what the press reported and the investors perceived). Ballmer retired from the company in early 2014 after 14 years as CEO. A rational future has nutrients and sustainability; it’s not a sugar donut that is quite tasty when you eat it but leaves you worse off than before. Literally walking over hot coals to try to build self-esteem is like downing one giant sugar donut, because that skill (perspiring feet) has no applicability in the course of daily work or life. Thus, help people see a future with pragmatics in the present, as well as logical arguments and persuasive appeals.

3. Become clearly accessible and accountable — or, in other words, “transparent.”

I remember college professors who held regular office hours and seemed genuinely happy to welcome students, while other professors seemed to take wicked pleasure in ignoring their students. The former had far more credibility when it came to respecting their opinions and critiques. After all, people are less likely to argue with an individual who is clearly available and responsible.

4. Hang out with all-stars.

Leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith says that in order to be a thought leader, you must surround yourself with other thought leaders. The same principle applies to credibility. Find people with impressive credibility credentials within your own organization or community and align yourself with them. Learn from them and support them, and eventually you’ll become like them.

Next time, I’ll explore four ways you can easily lose credibility.

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