Tag Archives: Credibility

Pick your battles

When a position’s worth defending, dig in, but pick your battles carefully…

It doesn’t take much to put yourself on the back foot, to undermine your position or stack the odds against you.  Poor judgement or an honest mistake, defended too rigorously can make you appear unbalanced, obsessive or easily confused.  Credibility undermined by jumping to the wrong conclusion, too quick off the mark, critical facts overlooked.

It’s easy to do.  After all it was an honest mistake.  A knee-jerk reaction to a brief moment of contact, going on the offensive, unreasonably as it turns out.

The embarrassment is equally easy to avoid.  Pause.  Keep your powder dry. Assess the situation.  Check again.  Consider the options.  Only when you’re absolutely sure should you jump in, with confidence and poise.

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A “Good News” Story

If people have to be told that a communication is a “Good News” story , it probably won’t be perceived that way. 

This is not natural language.  Not something we’d say outside the work place.  It introduces uncertainty that may not have existed before.  It erodes trust.  It demeans the recipient.

If, when delivering a difficult message, you feel like you need to tell people it’s a “Good News” story you probably need to think about it in a bit more detail:

  • Explain the context
  • Communicate the facts
  • Provide supporting evidence
  • Be honest
  • Be authentic
  • Allow the recipients to form their own opinion.

If the content of your message is big and important it is likely that the audience will be split; some people will consider it “Good” news, while others may consider it “Bad”.  If you expect a different result you will be disappointed.

Your goal should be to deliver your message clearly, ensure it’s understood, and then engage in a dialogue.  Good news or bad.

Credibility will come

Credibility is earned over time, by your actions consistently matching your words, and built on a foundation of confidence.

There is no fast-track option.  Attempting to directly influence people’s perception generally has the opposite effect.

Excel at your job.  Do the right thing.  Treat people with respect.  Act with integrity.

Credibility will come.