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Personal Credibility

Definition
Personal Credibility is demonstrating concern that one be perceived as responsible, reliable, and trustworthy.
Behaviors
An employee demonstrating this competency:
  • Does what he/she commits to doing
  • Respects the confidentiality of information or concerns shared by others
  • Is honest and forthright with people
  • Carries his/her fair share of the work load
  • Takes responsibility for own mistakes; does not blame others
  • Conveys a command of the relevant facts and information
Importance of this Competency
Personal Credibility involves other people’s perceptions of three personal characteristics: reliability, trustworthiness, and competence. Reliability means fulfilling promises and commitments. If you consistently demonstrate reliability, other people will assign important responsibilities and leadership roles to you. If you are trustworthy, others will share their real concerns and feelings with you, and you will be able to use this information to influence them, by finding win-win solutions. If others perceive you as competent in your technical area, they will seek your services. Your overall credibility determines whether others will treat you as a serious player in your organization.

Someone who lacks credibility is likely to be left out of key decisions and not considered for important positions. Without credibility, it is difficult to enlist others’ support and cooperation.
General Considerations in Developing this Competency
Since Personal Credibility is based on others’ perceptions, the only way to develop this competency is to alter those perceptions, by demonstrating a track record of reliability, trustworthiness, and competence. You can enhance your credibility by taking steps to ensure the visibility of your accomplishments, by making presentations and by distributing reports and recommendations. But be sure to give credit to everyone else who helped or assisted you in your efforts.

Keep in mind that people have long memories for actions and events that reflect negatively on credibility. If you fail to fulfill a commitment or betray a confidence, you will lose credibility with the persons involved, and it will take significant effort on your part to repair the damage.
Practicing this Competency
  • Volunteer for tasks and make sure that you fulfill commitments on time, with high quality work.
  • Volunteer for leadership roles.
  • Volunteer for assignments which will provide exposure and allow you to demonstrate credibility to higher management and to people in other parts of the organization.
  • When others share personal information or perceptions of coworkers, assume that this information is confidential and do not disclose it to others.
  • Never lie to people. If you are unable or unwilling to disclose something, say so and explain why.
  • As a team member, be sure to carry a fair share of the work load.
  • Accept responsibility for your mistakes; avoid blaming others.
  • When preparing a recommendation, make sure you have obtained the relevant facts and information.
  • Prepare thoroughly for presentations.
  • Seek advice or help from appropriate experts, to avoid presenting recommendations reflecting your own lack of knowledge.
Obtaining Feedback
Let coworkers know that you are working to enhance your Personal Credibility. Show them the definition and behaviors for this competency. Ask them to observe you over a one-month period and let you know when you do something that either detracts from or enhances your credibility.
Learning from Experts
Observe someone who has a high level of Personal Credibility. Look for evidence of the behaviors associated with this competency. Note what the person does that seems to enhance his/her credibility.
Coaching Suggestions for Managers
If you are coaching someone who is trying to develop the compentency, you can:
  • Model this competency in your own personal interactions, by fulfilling promises, demonstrating honesty, and respecting confidences.
  • Make sure that the person has realistic but challenging goals and the information and resources needed to achieve these goals.
  • Encourage this person to volunteer for assignments or responsibilities that will build this person’s credibility with others, especially higher management and people in other parts of the organization.
  • Keep informed about this person’s progress against his/her goals and commitments, so that if there is a danger of not meeting a commitment, you can help this person find a way to meet the commitment.
Sample Development Goals
By March 15, I will volunteer for three assignments on the Unit Planning Team.

By April 16, I will prepare and give a presentation on the results of our benchmarking activities with Tri-Plex and King Systems.

By May 10, I will read Credibility, by Kouzes and Posner, and prepare a list of ideas I can apply in my role as Team Leader of the Sales Expansion Team.
Resources

Books

5 Steps to Professional Presence: How to Project Confidence, Competence, and Credibility at Work, by Susan Bixler & Lisa Scherrer Dugan. Avon, MA: Adams Media Corporation, 2000.

Communicating With Credibility and Confidence, by Gay Lumsden & Donald Lumsden. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co, 2005.

Credibility Power: The Art of Selling Yourself, by Richard Hangen. Dallas, TX: Prestonwood Press, 2001.

Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It, by James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Principle-Centered Leadership, by Stephen Covey. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Trade, 2000.

The Importance of Credibility and Persuasiveness, by Michael Feldberg. Boston, MA: Aspatore Books, 2001.

The Personal Credibiity Factor by Sandy Algier. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2009.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Ltd., 2005. 

So Smart But...: How Intelligent People Lose Credibility - and How They Can Get it Back.  by Allen Weiner San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2007.

EXTERNAL COURSES 

Developing Your Personal Brand and Professional Image. Two days. American Management Association. Tel. 877-566-9441 http://www.amanet.org/training/seminars/Developing-Your-Personal-Brand-and-Professional-Image.aspx
How to Communicate with Diplomacy, Tact and Credibility. Two days. American Management Association. Tel. 877-566-9441. http://www.amanet.org/training/seminars/How-to-Communicate-with-Diplomacy-Tact-and-Credibility.aspx 

EXTERNAL RESOURCES
See Appendix




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