We’ve heard a lot in the news lately about people who have no credibility and I suspect we’ll hear more. As a small business owner, you can’t afford not to be credible. Your business success depends on it.
“Personal credibility is truly a ‘magic bullet’ for success and happiness,” says Sandy Allgeier, author of The Personal Credibility Factor: How to Get It, Keep It, and Get It Back (If You’ve Lost It).. “It forms other people’s opinions of you, shapes their interactions with you, and helps them decide whether to trust and respect you. In other words, it leads to healthy, productive relationships—and if you can create those, everything else in life just falls into place.”
If you’re having trouble ‘winning friends and influencing people” you may have a credibility issue. Allgeier shares several credibility busters that erode trust. Here are three:
- Failing to do what you say you will do. The number one way to bust your personal credibility? Just fail to deliver on the promises or commitments you make. We’re all guilty of committing this sin from time to time, but when we do it more often than not, we’ve got a credibility problem.
“How often do you say, ‘I’ll get that to you today’…and then you don’t?” asks Allgeier. “Or ‘I’ll call you back in a few minutes’…and then you don’t? Most people are forgiving when this happens—to a point. But when you make a regular habit of this, well, you quickly become labeled as a promise-breaker. If you’re not sure you can follow through on your promises, don’t make them. Period!”
- Breaking appointments (or frequently rescheduling them). When you make meetings and appointments, other people expect you to keep those commitments. Have you ever dealt with someone who regularly needed to break or reschedule appointments with you? It’s annoying, at best. And after it happens more than once or twice, you stop trusting them. Don’t be this person. When you make an appointment, keep it, if at all possible.
“Yes, life can be hectic and sometimes you have no choice but to reschedule,” says Allgeier. “That’s precisely why you must do everything in your power to keep your appointments most of the time. Then, when you have to make an exception, it will be just that—an exception.”
- Losing the balance between accomplishing tasks and maintaining constructive relationships. Yes, delivering on results is critical for personal credibility—but nothing is more critical than keeping relationships positive while also delivering on results. If you force an employee to cancel her honeymoon in order to meet a deadline for a client, you’re probably damaging that relationship beyond repair.
“If you must choose between meeting your commitments and damaging your relationships with valuable people in your life, it’s probably better to break the commitment and keep the relationship,” says Allgeier.
Personal credibility is critical to your business success — remember people do business with people, not companies. If you’re not credible, your business will show it.