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I had the honor and pleasure of speaking to a large group of Human Resource professionals yesterday at the SHRM conference in Carroll County. It is always a blessing for me to be able to work with people who are looking for ways to be more effective, and this was a highly engaged group of high quality people.

One of the key areas I was speaking on was the development of credibility and its role in your influence as a leader. This prompted me to write a little on the topic to share with you…but then I thought, “I bet I’ve written on this topic before” and so I searched and found this below which I penned seven months ago. I hope you find value in it.

Credibility is essentially the level to which a person trusts you.

When I train groups, I often start by showing them how their level of competence and their level of character result in their level of credibiity. This applies to everyone. I expand on this when I teach leadership because credibility becomes the benchmark for influence in leadership.

In a business setting, people do business with people they like and trust (as long as the product or service is viable). Trust is the engine for credibility. It is completely earned. And it takes a long time to earn deep trust. Your position in any area does not grant you trust with people.

Only demonstrating that you are worthy of trust will lead to trust.

This is why it is so important to protect trust once it is developed. Unfortunately, trust takes a long time to develop and only a few seconds to destroy. In the business world, the minute you present yourself in any situation people begin to watch. They watch how you work and they watch how you behave. Trust is evaluated on both competence and character.

Every one puts their best foot forward most of the time. And you should. The key then is to consistently demonstrate, that this isn’t your best foot…its your only foot!

In the actual work (competence) you will be judged on what you DO. In many cases this is relatively straight forward. The character part is much trickier because people judge their perception of the behavior…not your intent.

So you must be extra careful in all ways you conduct yourself so that there is no room for doubt.

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