Tough to build and easy to lose, credibility ranks as one of the primary characteristics of a successful and persuasive professional.Â A basic determination of credibility can be found in the way you answer this question: Can people believe what you say?
Credibility is critical.Â It is influenced by three things:
• Technical competency
• Track record
• Interpersonal skills
Technical competency resides in your ability to understand and perform in a particular realm. For example, a person may have exceptional technical proficiencies regarding inventory management. They understand inventory turns, open to buy methods, the costs associated with carrying inventory, and strategic and tactical approaches to improving a business’ inventory position.Â A salesperson might demonstrate technical competency by understanding the sales progression or having above average product knowledge.
How you have performed in the past is crucial to your credibility. Your track record is an excellent predictor of your future performance.Â If you say you’ll have a project done by the 18th and you’ve never missed a deadline, chances are when you are in a meeting and state the project will be done on the 18th people will believe you.
Although it could be argued that a person can have credibility without having interpersonal skills, you won’t survive organizational life very long if you can’t relate with the other “kids in the sandbox.”
Being able to communicate with co-workers and clients is often the Achilles heel of otherwise potential high performing employees. Of course the two communication categories contribute to your interpersonal success; verbal and nonverbal. You must speak, act and look the part.
Seinfeld’s soup Nazi character demonstrates terrific technical competency and a track record in making soup, but isn’t necessarily a person you’d like to work with all day. And as a matter of fact, people then conspired against him.
For you to have the entire credibility package you really need to have all three competencies: Technical abilities, a great track record, and effective interpersonal skills.