Credibility Can Be Reclaimed. Here Are Four Ways to Do It.

This is a guest post by Angie Morgan

“I want to get back on track.”

This is a common refrain I’ve heard from many professionals recently.  They’ve known for quite some time that the pandemic hasn’t afforded them optimal working conditions and, as a result, they haven’t been performing to their potential.

It’s always great to self-confront this challenge… especially before others bring it to your attention. If this is an issue that’s impacting you, here’s some guidance:

If you want to get back to a positive trajectory of performance, it’s time to recommit to the fundamentals. It’s time to refocus on your credibility.

Your professional reputation is influenced greatly by the level of credibility you demonstrate to yourself and others — the actions that convey you’re dependable, trustworthy, committed, and a high performer.

Here are four keys to credibility that you can start focusing on today.

  • Understand and meet the standards of others. When the pandemic hit, many of us hustled to react to the environment we were called to lead in. Now as the post-pandemic world is drawing near, it’s time to take a step back and be less reactive and more proactive in our response to the world. This presents an opportunity to identify all your stakeholders, put yourself in their shoes, and ask yourself what they want from you and what success looks like in these relationships.  By channeling your stakeholders’ perspectives, you can start to see some of the expectations others have for you. This knowledge can give you a new perspective on the standards you can develop and meet to be viewed as high performing in these relationships.
  • Have a narrow “say-do gap.” We’ve gave, and we’ve been given, a lot of grace in the pandemic in regard to the “say-do gap.” Meaning, we’ve been understanding when there’s a wide space between someone’s words and actions; likewise, others have been pretty accepting of times when we haven’t been as diligent in delivering on our commitments. This moment right now presents a perfect opportunity for us to start being hyper vigilant about what we commit to and how we follow through. When we have a narrow say-do gap, we show others that we’re dedicated and dependable. This allows us to be seen as consistent, a key attribute of any high performer.
  • Communicate your intent and expectations to others. Many professionals have done an exceptional job of transacting – saying and doing what must get done to be successful – during the pandemic. If you’re seeking to go the extra mile, take the extra time to go beyond just telling what we need from others. Share with them your ideas, your intentions, and what “success” looks like, not just in the day-to-day, but from a more strategic perspective. This level of clear, consistent communication helps move your relationships and, consequently, work product, away from the tactical to more of the big-picture thinking that will pull everyone, especially yourself, up to new levels of performance.
  • Hold others accountable when they fail to meet standards.  Many of us, rightfully so, have been exceptionally empathetic to the real-world constraints of others that have impacted their performance.  Empathy and grace have been critically important to our teams working in such extreme conditions. As we move to get our performance back on track, it’s okay to begin having accountability-based conversations when standards aren’t met or results aren’t achieved. These conversations can be caring and compassionate, while also addressing business needs. These conversations can also help reprioritize for others or recalibrate expectations or goals. Be the leader who initiates these dialogues, especially if it’s you holding yourself accountable. Candor today can lead to a better tomorrow.

These four keys to credibility are interdependent and can be further developed with conscious effort. While they can be challenging to demonstrate, especially in our time-constrained pandemic reality, rest assured that they’re not impossible to express. It starts with attention, and it’s followed by intention. Small actions – taken over time – can produce profound results that lead to strong performance.

About the guest post author:
Angie Morgan is an executive coach who works with high-performing leaders to help them achieve next-level results. After her service in the Marine Corps, she co-created the leadership development firm Lead Star and co-wrote the New York Times best-selling books SPARK and Leading from the Front with Courtney Lynch, also a Marine Corps veteran. Their third book, Bet on You: How Leaders Win with Risk, will be out in spring 2022.