Credibility With Your Team: It’s Hard to Get and Easy to Lose

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    Effective supervisors have more than a title on their doors. They also have the trust and confidence of those on their team.

    Personal credibility is the working asset in every relationship, both personal and business. People have credibility with each other or they don’t. When they do, work gets done, goals are met, and extraordinary things happen. When they don’t you know what occurs…work does not get done or gets done poorly; goals are not met or get changed constantly; and sadly, people just get by putting out minimum effort.

    However, team credibility does not happen overnight. Rather, it’s the day-by-day actions that influence whether your team will not only follow you but also go that extra mile. These day-by-day actions create a Credibility Account that, like a bank account, generates both deposits and withdrawals.

    Each supervisor begins with a certain amount of credits in his or her account. That amount varies based on the leader’s qualifications, reputation, and personal style. Every day, deposits (positive experiences) and withdrawals (disappointments) are made into this account.

    Five strategies to manage your credibility account with your team.

    1. Understand others.
    What might be a deposit to you may not be perceived by someone else as a deposit at all. It might be perceived as a withdrawal, if it does not touch the person’s deep interests or needs.

    2. Attend to the little things.
    The little kindnesses and courtesies are important and make deposits. Small discourtesies can make large withdrawals. In relationships, the little things are the big things.

    3. Clarify expectations.
    Whether we are dealing with the question of who does what at work or who feeds the fish and takes out the garbage, unclear or ambiguous expectations leads to misunderstanding and withdrawal of trust.

    4. Don’t play favorites.
    People make judgments about what they see in the workplace. Are promotions fair? Is low performance dealt with quickly? Is there equal treatment for everyone? If the answer is no in your team’s eyes (regardless of the truth of the matter – it’s their perspective) then this perceived unfairness will stand in the way of their giving of themselves fully to the job or project.

    5. Do what you say you’re going to do.
    Credible supervisors remember the promises they make, take the appropriate course of action, and let their team know what’s been done. If you tell Mary that you are going to check on something for her, do it. And if you don’t intend to do something, never say you will.

    Management Success Tip

    Do a credibility check. To stay on track, ask yourself questions, like, “What could potentially jeopardize my credibility?” “What steps can I take to improve my credibility?” “What can I do each day to ensure that my credibility is maintained?” The more aware you are, the better equipped you are to increase the balance in your credibility account.

    Do you want to develop your Management Smarts?