The measure of a mans worth is only as good as his word. Your credibility with your employees, your boss, your customers and everyone else in your life is only as good as your word is. What you say can make you or break you.
This is why building and maintaining credibility is important. If you are credible you are seen as trustworthy, honest, someone who can be counted on. These are all attributes needed to become successful in business and in life.
Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
While this sounds simple enough, this is a mistake often made. You may want to impress your boss by telling them a project will be done two weeks early. You may try to inspire your employees by promising them rewards for hard work. The point is simple. Never make a promise to anyone you can not deliver on.
If you can not deliver on your promises you will lose all credibility. People will not longer believe what you say. If you can not keep a promise give an honest explanation of the reason you can not keep the promise that you made. At least then you are being honest and saving some credibility.
If you must make a promise do it this way. Under promise and over deliver. It is one of the well known formulas for success. You give yourself enough time to complete the task and pad it. Something almost always comes up and when it does the extra padding still allows you to deliver on time. If everything goes well you look great because you got the work completed ahead of schedule.
Do What You Say You Will Do
Again, this may sound simple, but like making promises you do not keep, telling someone you will do something and then not doing it will kill your credibility. If someone comes to you with an issue and you tell them “I will get right back to you” then you better get back to them as soon as possible.
Keep Your Employees Informed
It used to be the only people who knew anything we the people in charge. They coveted their knowledge as power and were unwilling to share it with just anyone. In a modern work place you need to be the one to share news, both good and bad with your employees.
Don’t let bad news come from the grapevine where it can become distorted. Rumors and falsehoods are hard to kill. When you have good news share it right away with your employees. Employees like to know what is going on. They don’t like working in a black hole where they are never told anything.
Employees who are fully aware are going to be more engaged and more productive because they know the big picture and their role in it. They will appreciate the fact that you keep them updated and this will help gain their respect.
Tell It Like It Is
People do not expect you to know everything, they just want you to be straight with them. If an upcoming project is going to require a lot of overtime work, tell them about it ahead of time. People have lives outside of work and don’t like it when surprises that take away that time are sprung on them.
If you have run into problems with a task tell your boss about it before someone else does. Don’t try to cover it up or work around the issue with some half-baked solution. I’ve always told my boss if something is wrong you will be the first one to know about it, from me.
Your word is one of the most important aspects of your character. You should protect it like gold and never tarnish it. To do this never make promises you can not keep. Never tell someone you will do something and then not do it. Both of these can be career ending choices.
Always try and keep your employees informed about anything that deals with their work and when you can about the company in general. When you share news, both good and bad people will respect your candor and honesty. When you withhold information from them for no reason you will lose their respect and trust.