The root of the word ‘credibility’ is credo, which is Latin for ‘I believe’. Credibility is the feeling of trust and respect that you inspire in others.
As a young professional, building your credibility is a key pillar towards building your brand, your career, and your values.
It takes time to build it, but it can take a moment to destroy it, and possibly a lifetime to rebuild it.
Identify your core values. People with strong character stand up for what they believe in, even when it goes against popular opinion.
Spend time getting to know yourself and what you care most about and what you value, and be willing to defend your values and choices.
Authenticity is ‘undisputed credibility’. Being authentic is being yourself. Don’t be a carbon copy of someone else. The more people know who you are, the more they can trust you. Being authentic means doing what you say. One of the easiest ways of losing credibility is not delivering on your work. But what is worse is promising something and not delivering on it and not communicating any challenges you are facing. Be courageous and honest.
The more expertise you have and can demonstrate, the greater your credibility. Choose a single area that is fundamentally important to your role, organisation, or industry. Stay up to date with your industry knowledge – hence the importance of continuous professional development (CPD). While your reputation for expertise is important, it’s just as important to acknowledge what you do not know.
Be excellent consistently
Consistency is a key pillar to building credibility, with excellence as a foundation. People want predictability and very few surprises, especially in key leadership positions. Being excellent at what you do is not negotiable. Being excellent means putting in the effort, and knowing your work. Being inconsistent means people cannot trust that you will deliver excellent work all the time or for all the projects.
Author: Gugu Mtetwa CA(SA) is a Non-executive Director (former Audit Partner at PwC)