Communication Strategies to Build Credibility
Starting a new enterprise or a new job can be challenging. You know that you have a lot to give, but the people you are working with have little to no experience with your skills. So, it takes times to make an impression.
Remember that it’s possible to lead from any role at any age.
So what defines a leader?
In the simplest terms, leaders have followers who believe that those leaders will take them to a better place. People respond to the energy, passion, and ideas that leaders bring to a team, even if those leaders are relatively junior.
Ultimately, leaders mentor the next generation, teaching the skills that will one day enable their proteges to replace them.
Good leaders have credibility.
Building credibility starts early, before you are ever in a position of authority. It has less to do with title, and more to do with how you perform.
Below are methods which can be utilized immediately to start building solid credibility, as follows:
1. Start with Good Data Otherwise You Can Be Ignored
Until you have credibility, people are unlikely to perceive you as a leader or treat your ideas as valuable. It’s a natural tendency for many people to instantly want to share their opinions when taking on new roles, but it’s not always helpful long-term. Good credibility is earned. If you want to appear credible, speak with facts before opinions.
Facts give you an opportunity to contribute productively. By outlining relevant market data or detailing product capabilities, you are sharing true, relevant information. Fact-speaking will solidify your contributions and give credence to your voice. This in turn will lend credibility to your opinions and analysis later on.
To achieve this, spend ample time researching information that is likely to be relevant in your meetings. Learn about the products or services your company provides. When the time comes to speak up, you will be able to contribute in a way that adds value, without claiming an authority you do not yet command.
2. Make Your Plan Clear to Your Team Members
Acting impulsively is risky and can damage your credibility.
This is not to be confused with taking the initiative. When you work in a Team, it is crucial that you engage with colleagues and solicit their feedback. Developing a plan and executing consistently generates credibility. Learn to communicate clearly and see any mistakes as opportunities for growth.
Creating a strategy before you ask breeds initiative and organized tactics. Share these strategies with your team members and stakeholders. Shared plans allow you to articulate expectations with Key partners and solicit their feedback, inviting them to feel involved in the process. Additionally, constant communication with all team members, shareholders, etc., is important for stability.
Ideally, you will be able to tell them that the project is delivering strong results, but even if you need to explain what is not working, and make changes, you have far more credibility to do that when you develop a strong plan prior to taking action.
3. View Your Company As Your Partner
In the modern world, we all collaborate with others. Establishing strong relationships with people in your Team is essential to building credibility.
Make an effort to understand and respect the perspectives and motivations of the people you work with, and to explore the history and values of your company. Think about what you can give to others, and the organization, as opposed to simply what you can get.
In aiming to do benefit your employer and not merely yourself, you build credibility for Teamwork and drive.
4. Prove Your Experience Is Relevant
In the early days of cloud technology, I was focused on hiring talented individuals to be part of the team at Microsoft. Many college hires feared that they lacked the experience to be credible salespeople for cloud services. They imagined that clients would take one look at them and think that they were too naïve or inexperienced to be in such a responsible position. I reminded them that they had unique experiences to contribute.
The most successful among those we hired understood the distinction between relevant and irrelevant experiences. By framing their knowledge as advantageous to the company as a whole, they instantly became credible.
You may not have as much professional experience as older members of your Team. Whatever experience have is valid, and should make you feel more confident.
This applies whether you are the CEO or a new hire or anyone in between. Negative self-perception can set in at any stage, and blind you to the unique value you bring to your role. Take the time to reflect on your strengths and recognize how others can benefit from your insights.
5. No Matter How High You Rise, Credibility Is Key
In order to be seen as a leader, it’s important to take steps to build your credibility. This is especially true when you’re in a new role regardless of your career stage. However brilliant your track record, people will be swayed by their experience of you. You must show them that you are credible before they will accept you as a leader who is capable of taking them to a better place.
This imperative never fades, however senior you become.
Credibility is part of the glue that holds leadership together. Without it, your ability to inspire followers will inevitably decline. Make use of the strategy described above, and you can expect to earn the credibility you deserve.
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Paul Ebeling, Editor