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How to Get Credibility Back at the Workplace

by Anna Windermere

All it takes is one major blunder to lose your credibility at the workplace. If you've promised deliverables by a certain date to your project manager, for example, and missed the mark by weeks -- then you'll have to offer more than just excuses in order to recover your credibility. Conducting business in a consistently professional manner can help you get your work reputation back on track.

Being Real

Covering up mistakes, blaming others or communicating half-truths can only further damage your credibility. Get it back by taking responsibility. It's better to show you are an imperfect human and confess the truth so that those you do business with feel they can trust you. For example, if you're really not sure about when you can meet a deadline because it depends on the work of someone else -- just say so. An "I don't know" is better than giving an unrealistic date and then risk disappointing a client or co-worker -- and then losing your credibility. Likewise, admitting an error was made and letting the person know what you'll do to correct it -- then following through with a solution -- gives you more credibility than not confessing the mistake.

Knowledge Is Power

Your credibility will improve if you can offer proof of solid information. For example, researching information related to the product or service your company offers -- and knowing it inside and out -- gives you solid ground to stand on when fielding questions or concerns from others. The knowledge you display helps you set limits on what you can and can't do, which helps your credibility by making sure you don't make promises you can't keep or make unfounded claims. You can add even more credibility when you offer your own unique take on the information you provide -- providing more value by sharing related personal experience and insight that others at your workplace wouldn't be able to offer the same way.

Image Control

Gaining back your credibility requires that you take back control of your image or reputation in the workplace. The best way to do this is to be professional at all times -- in the way you dress, the way you speak to people, how you conduct business in the workplace, and what information you share about yourself online. For example, wear business attire that matches the company culture, and when using social media sites, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, use appropriate photos of yourself. Keep personal information far away from your professional profiles online.

Effective Communication

The way you communicate with co-workers and clients can have a large impact on your credibility. For example, in your written communications such as e-mail, the quickest way to lose credibility is by allowing typos and misspellings to be sent through. Recipients will notice, and if they perceive carelessness in your writing, you may lose respect -- so proofread your typing carefully to display accuracy and professionalism. Also, be sure your actions consistently line up with your words. If they don't, your colleagues will see you as a hypocrite and will not take you seriously. Make claims that actually hold true, and only make promises you know you can keep.

About the Author

Anna Windermere started her writing and editing career in 1993, upon graduating from the University of Florida's esteemed journalism school with a bachelor's in journalism. Ms. Windermere, a senior-level copy editor, has appeared in mastheads of newspapers and magazines as copy chief, writer and proofreader, including "Sun-Sentinel," "Miami Herald," "City Link," "New Times," "NewBeauty," "Luxe," "Florida Alligator," "Orange & Blue," and more.

Photo Credits

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