A friend of mine recently told me about a conversation he had with his brother, who he was coaching through some difficult times.
His brother had recently been promoted from the field into a corporate setting because of his excellent work. My friend’s brother expressed his frustration at how unimaginative his co-workers were and how they were always making mistakes. The brother went on about how unwilling everyone seemed to be about listening to his ideas or following his advice.
Finally, my friend, in exasperation, said to his brother, “What do you want people to do, lie down, and say, ‘Oh we are so stupid, and you are so smart, even smarter than us. We should follow your every idea!’” To which my friend’s brother replied, “Well, yes!”
Obviously, that was not going to happen any time soon. But the whole situation begs the question, “How do you increase your credibility in your organization?”
Here are 10 tips for building your credibility through the achievement of results.
1. Continue to do the work. If you have been promoted for the work that you have done, continue to do what you are asked to do and do it well. No one can argue with excellence. If you do excellent work, meet the required deadlines and keep your commitments, people will notice and the recognition will come. Your performance will build your credibility over time.
2. Look to make a difference. Sometimes when we feel unaccepted or even rejected, we tend to isolate ourselves and not look beyond the parameters of the work we are assigned. Don’t fall into this trap. Look to improve your processes. Figure out what works and doesn’t work. If there is a process outside of your scope of responsibility that directly affects your work, look for ideas on how to improve those processes and encourage those who are responsible to make the needed changes to make both of you successful.
3. Support others in their work. Sometimes when a person is new in a position, others may feel intimidated by or resentful of the new face at the table. Look to make allies by seeking opportunities to assist others in their work. Encourage and recognize them for their efforts. Offer experienced-based solutions that apply to the challenges they are addressing. Present your ideas in a way that acknowledges their good efforts and seeks to build on them rather than discredit them.
4. Humbly be right. If you come up with a solution that is a resounding success, keep your mouth shut. Let people draw their own conclusions. If you go out of your way to celebrate your individual success, rather than put the focus on the team effort, people will look for ways to discount your contribution, identify your weaknesses and let it be known what an arrogant and pompous individual you are. That also means that you do not want to go fishing for compliments. Let your results speak for themselves and let that be the end of it.
5. Offer concrete evidence. When making suggestions about what to do or a decision to make, be prepared to offer your opinion, supported by concrete evidence and data. Realize that someone may present evidence that runs counter to your idea, but being prepared with supportive information will go a long way to bolstering your credibility.
6. Be collaborative in your efforts. Even if you think you know what you should do, take the time to explore others’ experience and points of view. First, they may know something that you don’t know. Second, being inclusive goes a long way toward acknowledging value for the contributions others may make. Third, it signals that you are a team player. Lastly, it indicates that others’ ideas and experience matter to you.
7. Explain “why.” Sometimes soliciting ideas creates the false expectation that you will incorporate their suggestions or ideas into the final solution or decision. If you make a decision that doesn’t include their ideas, it may leave them thinking, “Well, I won’t share my ideas the next time around because they weren’t valued.” You want to make sure that they don’t draw such a conclusion. Take the time to explain why you made the decision that you did. Identify the goal, the criteria for your decision and the supporting evidence. If you take the time to do so, it will help them understand how and why you made the decision that you did and increase their buy-in.
8. Recognize the contributions of others. No one works in a vacuum. You rely on the members of your team and others to support you and perhaps to execute your plans. If you are successful, there are other people who enabled that success. Be sure to recognize everyone who contributed to the results. Don’t take the credit for your success. By drawing attention to others, it will build loyalty among your associates and ardent supporters for your expertise and leadership.
9. Look to develop others. If you are surrounded by people who don’t have the degree of expertise and experience that you would hope, identify their strengths and capitalize on them. Seek out and support opportunities for growth for key team members who have the capacity to develop their skills and talents in your targeted areas. It may take some patience on your part when people don’t initially meet your expectations, but if you are clear about your goals and help others to achieve, you will develop a reputation as someone who cares about the success of the entire team.
10. Continue learning. As smart and capable as you may be, everyone has something to learn. Much of that learning comes through our experience with others given the tasks that we are charged to complete. However, formal training might also be helpful. There are a wealth of resources available through classes and workshops both in person and online, as well as through mentors, coaches and books. If you are always looking to learn, making the changes to improve and striving to consistently do your best, the recognition will come.
Part of being a good leader is recognizing that you will not be successful without the assistance and support of others. Taking the time to be inclusive, draw on others’ strengths and experience, forget yourself and help others will help you achieve the results you desire and bring you positive recognition and additional opportunities.
John R. Stoker is the author of “Overcoming Fake Talk” and the president of DialogueWORKS, Inc. He has been in organizational development work for over 20 years helping leaders and individual contributors to learn the skills to assist them in achieving superior results. He has experience in the fields of leadership, change management, dialogue, critical thinking, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence, and has worked with such companies as Cox Communications, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell and AbbVie. Connection with him on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.