16 Strategies to Build Integrity and Credibility in the Workplace
Integrity and credibility is the quality of being trusted and believed in. It influences your relationships, career and professional life. For many years, research has focused on the importance of credibility to achieve organisational objectives.
Whether it’s when you’re with colleagues, partners, clients or suppliers; being credible enables you to implement and strengthen a culture of collaboration in the workplace, which in turns allow to reach individual and collective objectives. Credibility therefore impacts organisational performance.
For example, a manager couldn’t accomplish his function effectively without the combination of a great leadership and credibility. It’s the degree of credibility that employees attribute to their manager that will determine their motivation and will to follow instructions.
You might ask yourself: “what made me decide to read this article?”. Curiosity or catchy headline? Maybe. But it could be the multitude of factors that together made you think that the source of this article looked valid and authoritative.
This is what’s referred to as credibility by association. You found elements that made you consider our blog as credible. Following this logic, we could deduct that the person who wrote this article is too, isn’t that right?
What does credibility meaning in the workplace?
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, credibility is the quality of being believed or accepted as true, real or honest. Determined by the perception one’s has of another, it can be concluded that credibility is a very subjective element. It depends on others’ opinions and is founded on criteria that are either personal moral virtue or valued by society.
In the context of the workplace, a manager’s credibility will therefore be evaluated based on a set of personal moral principles and social criteria related to his competencies, skills, experience and expertise. It’s the evaluation of these criteria that will determine the degree of trust and reliability we attribute to a manager. At its core, it defines the level of risk employees are ready to take with their manager.
How to be credible at work?
We can distinguish three main components of credibility: someone’s personality, competencies and expertise. Here are 16 advices you can follow to help you build your credibility at work and in your personal life.
1. Stick to your commitments
Being hesitant to make a commitment or failing to stick to your promises are both signs of a person considered untrustworthy. When someone commits and follow through on a commitment, they show that they are reliable which in turn helps build trust.
2. Be modest
Avoid bragging about your accomplishments to everyone in your orbit. It’s not about underestimating yourself but more about downplaying the way you present yourself. As Orson Welles said, remember that “nobody who takes on anything big and tough can afford to be modest”.
3. Develop personal integrity
Being honest in all your communications is the first step. Integrity meaning doing what you say and saying something when you’re not able to. People understand that you may have obligations and overcommitting should not be one of them.
4. Be socially responsible
Driving your actions by a strong work and personal ethic means you are sensitive to the impact you have on social, cultural and environment issues. Volunteering is a great way to have a positive impact on development and act for the benefit of society at large by contributing directly to the bottom-line.
5. Be rational and objective
People who are credible avoid clouding their decisions with emotions. When you adopt the position of an advisor, a third-party external to the situation, you can be more rational and objective. It’s well known that any good adviser always takes the time to comprehend a situation before giving an opinion. By listening to the signals that surround you, you can have a complete vision of your environment and become objective.
6. Be genuine
Truly genuine people tend to be more valued because they care less about being appealing and impressive. We are more likely to believe who is true to themselves because they appear truer and more honest to us – which ultimately ties back to the definition of credibility.
7. Know how to communicate and act social
Any politician who is in the run for an election aims at being credible. Think about it, without appearing as honest and genuine in their communication, how would they build trust within voters? Adopting a sympathetic ear and showing concern through the way you talk makes people look more human, and therefore more relatable and appreciated. The popular saying “actions have more power than words” shows that when you do the things that you say, you literally strengthen your message.
8. Be result-oriented
A person determined to getting things done appears more aspirational as someone who acts without drive. When you are driven by outcomes rather than processes, you are able to deliver on your promises which builds your credibility.
9. Work on your EQ
Social intelligence is the ability to get along well with others. Also labelled interpersonal skills, a high level of emotional intelligence helps you adopt an empathic approach to others and be self-aware of your emotions which you can regulate. For example, you’ll be better equipped to manage your fears when confronted to a difficult situation. This means that rather than transferring anxiety to others, you will appear as confident and inspire trust which in turns build your credibility.
10. Work on your IQ
Even though EQ is THE hot topic these days, a high IQ still has many benefits to help you build credibility. People with a high IQ are able to solve problems quickly and find alternative pathways to solutions, which impedes them from staying blocked in complex situation.
11. Make decisions
Many people can’t make decisions. To put it simply, you will find decision makers on one side and people who seek advice on the other. Showing you’re able to make decisions will shape your profile as a leader.
12. Be analytical
Numbers don’t lie. Associate numbers to your accomplishments makes you accountable. For example, you could show how much measurable value you’ve created for your business. Being able to put a face value on your actions will help you be believable.
13. Build up your credentials
Thinking of pursuing further education? Just go for it! Education and qualifications are a strong way to establish your expertise. Having a strong educational track record is how many consultants build credibility in their field for example.
14. Share your past successes
How would others know how credible you are without letting them know what you have accomplished in the past? In saying that, we’re not encouraging you to shout out your exploits 24/7 but more about taking advantage of opportunities to talk about them when you’re invited to it.
15. Know your business
Having a deep knowledge of your sector and industry will help you build credibility in the workplace. Being astute will develop your profile as a reference and draw others to you for advice. Being recognised for your knowledge and is a form of earned credibility. A bit like endorsements work on LinkedIn.
16. Build your network
As mentioned earlier, credibility is built by how others perceive you. The more people develop a positive perception of you, the more word-of-mouth will spread, thus participating in building your own reputation. A strong network will endorse your skills and expertise, and act as a testimonial for others that don’t know you yet.