- Credibility enables leaders to inspire and motivate their teams, while workers can gain recognition and opportunities for advancement.
- Workplace credibility enhances collaboration, fosters positive relationships, and promotes career growth.
- Allwork.Space asked four workplace experts and leaders for their insight into how to make oneself credible in the workplace.
Building workplace credibility is like constructing a sturdy foundation for a towering skyscraper.
Just as a solid building foundation provides stability and support to the entire structure, establishing credibility in the workplace lays the groundwork for trust, respect, and professional growth. It involves carefully assembling the right materials, such as integrity, competence, and consistency, and skillfully blending them together through effective communication and reliable actions. With each brick of credibility laid, the edifice of your reputation rises higher, enabling you to reach new heights of success and influence within your organization.
Workplace credibility refers to the perception of trustworthiness, expertise, and reliability that others have toward an individual — which must be built on a foundation of consistent actions, effective communication, and ethical behavior.
Having a credible image in the workplace is crucial for both workers and leaders alike.
Credibility enhances collaboration, fosters positive relationships, and promotes career growth. Moreover, it enables leaders to inspire and motivate their teams, while workers can gain recognition and opportunities for advancement. Establishing and maintaining workplace credibility is essential for success and effectiveness in today’s competitive and dynamic work environments.
To build professional credibility and become workplace leaders, individuals can take the following 8 steps:
- Develop expertise: Acquire in-depth knowledge and skills related to their field of work. This can be achieved through formal education, certifications, attending workshops, seminars, and staying updated with industry trends and best practices.
- Demonstrate competence: Consistently perform at a high level and deliver quality work. Take on challenging projects, meet deadlines, and strive for excellence in all tasks undertaken. Building a reputation for being reliable and competent will enhance credibility.
- Seek feedback and learn from it: Actively seek feedback from colleagues, supervisors, and mentors. Embrace constructive criticism and use it as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Adapting based on feedback demonstrates a commitment to self-development and continuous learning.
- Build strong relationships: Foster positive relationships with colleagues, superiors, and subordinates. Collaboration, effective communication, and teamwork are essential for building credibility. Treat others with respect, listen actively, and provide support when needed.
- Lead by example: Display integrity, professionalism, and ethical behavior in all interactions. Uphold high standards of conduct and demonstrate consistency between words and actions. Being a role model inspires trust and respect from others.
- Share knowledge and mentor others: Actively contribute to the growth and development of others by sharing knowledge, providing guidance, and acting as a mentor. This demonstrates leadership qualities and a willingness to invest in the success of others.
- Network and engage in professional associations: Attend industry conferences, join relevant professional associations, and participate in networking events. Engaging with peers and experts in the field can expand professional connections, expose individuals to new ideas, and enhance their credibility.
- Maintain a strong work ethic: Consistently demonstrate dedication, discipline, and a strong work ethic. Be punctual, meet deadlines, and go the extra mile when necessary. A strong work ethic is highly regarded and contributes greatly to building credibility.
Allwork.Space asked four workplace experts and leaders for their insight into how to make oneself credible in the workplace.
Allwork.Space: In your opinion, how do you establish yourself as an authority in your chosen space?
Logan Mallory, VP of Marketing at Motivosity: You know you’re an authority on a topic when people approach you for your opinions, insights, and connections. Once you start hearing, “This person told me to reach out to you for answers on this topic”, then you know you’re on the path to being a meaningful authority in your realm of choice.
William (Bill) Merck, author and leadership expert: There is a difference in establishing yourself as a leader in your chosen space as opposed to being an authority in your chosen space. A leader is one who sets a direction and engages others to follow. Being an authority in the area being led is certainly a positive, but not a requirement. Establishing yourself as an authority in your chosen space requires that you have verifiable credentials. These credentials may result from considerable practical experience in the particular field, a successful career history, university degrees, specialized training and certifications, published works, peer reviewed articles, and recommendations by others who are recognized as authorities in the same space.
Liz Simon, Chief Operating Officer at Industrious: The best way to establish credibility, first and foremost, is to consistently produce and publish valuable content, demonstrating true, unique, and thoughtful insight into your space. Once you have a track record of thought leadership, you can work to gain recognition through being cited in influential publications in your area of expertise, and you can work to leverage the credibility of others by associating with reputable individuals or organizations.
Allwork.Space: How do you convey that you are reliable and trustworthy when engaging with new people? Is it possible without a long-term relationship?
Mallory: The best way to establish your authority is to have someone else do it for you. A real authority will rarely brag about their title or experience because someone else will have done it for them already. Maybe that’s an author who references your work. Maybe it’s the fact that you were requested to speak at an event. Perhaps it’s the people tagging you on social media for your insights. People with real authority can demonstrate their expertise through their audience size and engagement rather than through self-promotion.
Christian Giordano, President & Co-owner of Mancini Duffy: I’ve found this takes time to cultivate; there are no tricks to gaining trust. Being transparent, vulnerable, and authentic, and having a good reputation, all factor into establishing a trustworthy relationship.
Merck: It is possible to convey that you are reliable and trustworthy without a long-term relationship, but it must be a relationship of sufficient duration to allow people new to you to see in your words, and more importantly, your actions, that you can be trusted and relied upon. How long it may take is subject to many variables, some of which are in your control to influence without a long-term relationship. For example, how frequent is your contact with new people? How meaningful are those interactions? Respect is earned, not given, with a new title or role in an organization.
There is a significant variable not subject to your control that will impact the time it takes for you to achieve a reputation of reliability and trustworthiness. It comes in the form of crisis management. How you handle yourself during an organizational crisis has a big influence on how you are perceived. A notable crisis may not happen in the early stages of a relationship so others won’t be able to judge your ability to respond in such circumstances. That argues for a longer time before your reputation of reliability and trust can be solidified.
Simon: The best approach to establishing trust and reliability with new connections, regardless of the hybrid work environment, is to consistently fulfill your commitments, maintain frequent communication, and prioritize openness and honesty in all interactions. These actions help demonstrate your dependability and build a foundation of trust with others while simultaneously building a relationship.
Allwork.Space: Has this changed in the last 50 years? What about with remote work?
Mallory: The pendulum has shifted so dramatically at work in the last 50 years. In the past, there was employee loyalty, where team members stayed for years and did what they were asked as they climbed the corporate ladder. Employers were primarily in control. That has completely shifted because of the gig economy, remote work expectations, cancel culture, and an employee base that isn’t afraid to demand what they think they need. Though the economy in H1 of 2023 hasn’t been favorable, employees still expect a lot from their employers…as a very general statement, they want top dollar for minimal effort and complete flexibility. It’s good to have some balance compared to 50 years ago, but businesses have to be able to make a profit and can’t possibly accommodate the entire wide range of wants and needs from their employees. There’s a good middle ground of mutual trust, respect, and awareness that I hope we settle into.
Merck: What has changed, and will continue to do so, is the massive amount of instant information available to the workforce. With social media, 24/7 news sources, and global access to the internet, there has been an acceleration in reaction time to actions taken by leaders in one’s work world. Issues that either support or challenge trust and reliability are more public and timelier than 50 years ago.
Remote work does influence the time it takes to establish a relationship of trust and reliability with new people. The absence of frequent face-to-face interactions—and virtual contact is not a substitution—means there are fewer opportunities to see one’s authentic actions and reactions. This lengthens the time for establishing a bond of trust and sense of reliability. So, while all the factors mentioned previously are still in play, they are played in slow motion when working remotely.
Simon: The main thing that has changed over the last 50 years is the ability to self-publish and build your own audience. There are so many different business publications and places you can publish content (LinkedIn, etc.) and you should consistently seek opportunities to be quoted in those outlets and to share your position on issues relevant to your industry. There’s still no substitute for being cited in an international outlet like The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, but it takes a lot of work to being included in coverage in those outlets.